My wife and I saw the new Will Smith movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, this past Friday. Interesting and well done. Based on a true story.

In a nutshell: Will Smith's character is a down-on-his-luck salesman. He and his wife have purchased into a plan to sell portable bone-density scanners, new technology at the time. He is not selling the machines fast enough to recover his costs and pay rent. His wife works double-shifts at her job to try to provide for them. Eventually she tires of the struggle and leaves him. Smith's character insists that their son remain with him. He desires to rise in the world. Observing the car driven by a stockbroker, he decides to apply for an opening in the internship program at a brokerage house, and gets a position. Then he discovers that the job pays nothing during the internship. Driven to be the one person hired from the 20 interns, he pushes himself to succeed. As he is trying to do this he loses his apartment, then a run-down motel room, winding up sleeping in a shelter with his son. But, he perseveres, selling the remaining bone scanners on weekends, creatively building relationships with potential clients, and taking care of his son. In the end, he gets the job.

(my reaction below)

On the one hand, I am a sucker for the underdog story. I root for the hero who endures hardship, presses forward, and achieves his goal. As a Christian I admire the character it takes to persevere through adversity. I also admired the loyalty the man showed toward his son, his determination to be the father of his child.

But on the other hand, as a Christian I have a couple of reservations. First, his goal seemed to be completely economic, to rise economically. This is not necessarily a bad goal, but in this movie it seems an all-consuming goal. Money and position should never be all-consuming goals. Second, I wonder if his marriage could have been saved. He had gotten his family into a bad economic situation buying into the portable scanner plan. OK, we all make mistakes. But, to try and survive that mistake, his wife works double shifts. Eventually she is too tired and too stressed by bills to continue. As the husband, as the man, should it not have been him who took a second job evenings, after peddling his bone scanners, taking stress off his wife, physical and economic. Or a weekend job. And, if he wanted to be a stockbroker so badly, should he not have waited until next year's internship program, after he had paid off the scanners and put his family into a position such that his wife's job could get them through the unpaid time.

This is a move worth your time to see. As is Freedom Writers, a movie I reviewed earlier.