Will Smith is one of the biggest actors in the world, he's been in some of the biggest budget blockbusters Hollywood has produced and made more than a few banging tunes. But for me, my favourite performance is in a much more restrained movie. There are no zombies, no robots and no aliens in The Pursuit of Happyness, just one man trying to do right by his son.
Based on a true story, Smith plays Chris Gardner a down-on-his-luck single father in San Francisco trying desperately to make rent and the most of his future. A real tearjerker, this movie saw Smith nominated for an Oscar (but we won't talk about that) for what is a beautiful performance alongside his real-life son Jaden. Leaving Netflix on the 15th of November, you need to grab a box of tissues and make time to watch.
Despite his circumstances, Chris is a talented man, and after a chance encounter manages to secure a shot at becoming a stockbroker at a leading firm. But in the short term, he doesn't need an unpaid internship, he needs money and a roof over his head. So unlike the others he's competing with, he is forced to juggle this internship with a thankless job selling medical equipment and fatherhood. That's a lot of plates to spin.
Even with this distant hope to aim for, it seems like the world is against Chris and Chris Jr. You're almost guaranteed to tear up as they spend the night in a train station bathroom and the world kicks this man who just needs a hand to stand up.
Watching this movie, you can't help but feel all warm and mushy inside and appreciative of the people around you. Perhaps that's why it has a much higher audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (87%) compared to the 67% critic's score (Are they emotionless robots?). It is genuinely my favourite of Smith's movies and I think by far his best performance.