“You want something. You go get it. Period.” (Chris Gardner)
The film is based on the true story of Chris Gardner, who went through extreme poverty before ending up as a multi-millionaire. Some of the details were altered for the film: Linda, for example, is a mixture of the two women in Chris’s life, and solving the Rubik’s cube is fiction added to the plot.
Will Smith saw the real Chris Gardner interviewed on 20/20, an American human-interest program. Watching Chris walk into the bathroom in which he and his son had slept captured Smith’s attention and at that point he decided that he wanted to tell this story. When Smith met Gardner he felt an instant connection, particularly with the idea that a person has command over their future, whatever their situation.
Questions for Discussion
- Did you like this film? Why/why not?
Yes, I did like the film because it shows that you don’t need money to be happy you can find happiness in little things and that if you’re in a bad situation always be optimistic because good things will come to you if you keep trying.
- What is happiness?
Happiness is something that can’t be found in things but created. In the movie Chris Gardner found happiness with his son and played with him everyday even though he was in such a bad financial state.
- Chris wants a better life for him and his son. What do you think he sees as happiness for his son? Do you think he makes the right decisions to achieve this?
He sees a better future as happiness for his son. He does make the right decisions to achieve this. He spends everything he has just so his son could eat and have a place to sleep. He strives every single day till he finally gets the job.
- Do you think that people have an unalienable right (i.e. a right that should not be taken away from them) to happiness? Why/why not?
No, because no one has the right to happiness. You can’t have the right to it because it is something that you have to create yourself. If you can’t create happiness for yourself you will never truly be happy.
- “And it was at that time that I thought about Thomas Jefferson writing that Declaration of Independence. Him saying that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I thought about how he knew to put the ‘pursuit’ in there, like no one can actually have happiness. We can only pursue it.”(Chris)
Do you think anyone can achieve happiness? Why/why not? Is pursuing happiness better than achieving happiness or not? Why?
I don’t think you can pursue or achieve happiness it is something that you have to choose to be no matter how hard of a time your going through you can be happy. I think that pursuing happiness is better than achieving it because with pursuing it you’re following along with it.
- Do you believe that you can always get what you want if you try hard enough?
I do believe that you can get what you want if you try hard enough. There are a lot of examples of people who used to be in a terrible state but now are something great like the prime minister of India used to sell tea on the streets, he would have never thought that one day he would be such a big position but he worked hard and now he is the prime minister of india.
- How do you feel about Chris’s goals in life? To what extent do you identify with them in your own life?
Chris’s life goals are to make sure that his child has a good future but i don’t identify with any of his life goals. We do have similar views on happiness but not life goals.
- What things do you think we should pursue in life? Is happiness one of those things? Why/why not?
I think that people should pursue whatever makes them happy in life. Happiness is something you should just follow along to, like no matter where you are you should find happiness in every little thing you do be grateful for everything you have.
- Do you think Chris should have tried to seek regular steady employment to provide for his family and prevent some of the hardships his family and son had to face?
No, I don’t think he should have seeked steady employment for his family because if he did he probably wouldn’t be where he is now in life. After going through so much he reached a place where he thinks he is truly happy.