Genre Critique: Pursuit of Happyness (Drama)

This is a film based on a true story about a man named Christopher Gardner. Gardner has invested almost all of his money in “bone density scanners” that are becoming obsolete due to the increase of newer, better, cheaper technology. While Gardner is trying to sell these machines, his wife leaves him; he loses his home, his bank accounts and all remaining money. Gardner is forced to live on the streets with his son while he desperately searches for a steady job. It turns out that he is extremely bright and talented with numbers and decides to take on the near impossible job as a stockbroker, but before he can receive pay he must complete 6 months of training and beat out the other competitors applying for the same position. The scene I have chosen to analyze is the scene in which Chris realizes, with his son, that he has no place to sleep for the night and must sleep in a public subway bathroom.
In this scene the two characters (Chris Gardner and his son) are laying on the Subway bathroom floor showing their utter desperation for shelter as we usually associate bathrooms (especially public ones) with dirty places where you wouldn’t particularly want to spend much time. Chris’s disgust and disappointment with the place he is in and what he is subjecting his son to also suggests that he expects more from himself. In this scene there is also luggage in the bathroom with the characters. Obviously, this luggage is their general belongings that they have to carry with them since they have been evicted from their home, however, it also serves as metaphorical “baggage” carrying their mistakes, problems and secrets with no hope of escaping them and nowhere to leave them behind. The scene also expresses the way in which the father and son are so desperate that they are willing to make anywhere their home. The way that his son is laying in his arms shows his weakness and how the father must nurture him and care for him as well as his own well being. There is a small amount of bright color around the child’s suitcase which could represent that there is hope and happiness in their near future; this could be why that particular suitcase is positioned in front of them rather than behind like the other dark, dull luggage which is behind them, or in the past.
A drama is meant to capture its audience’s emotions and make the movie or scene itself feel real. This scene is extremely emotional. It shows a father’s desperation, his love for his son, his loss of hope, and more existentially, his feeling of defeat, like the world has given up on him. Some, if not all of these are emotions and feelings that almost every human being in our society can relate to on some level. By using emotions in the scene that are relatable, even if the circumstances are not, the audience can imagine and feel the emotions that the characters are experiencing.
I, personally, think this scene is extremely effective at not only capturing it’s audience’s attention with rich color and interesting scenery but also pulling in their emotions to make them feel like they are there in the scene and to truly make it believable. The drama itself in this scene is intense and, for lack of a better word, dramatic. Accompanied by the incredible acting, it is hard not to identify with the characters and to truly feel the emotions they are experiencing.

Advertisements