Will Smith, Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

My Favorite Scene: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) “The Job Interview”

To cleanse our mental palates of After Earth, in which M. Night Shaymalan managed to leech the personality out of two of the most charismatic people on Earth: Will & Jaden Smith, let’s look back at Jaden’s debut in The Pursuit of Happyness.  I don’t think this film gets enough recognition on Smith’s resume (possibly because three of his last four films have been notorious bombs and this  was just before that string began.  It’s one of the best turns of his career and from the moment you see Jaden, you know this kid is going to be something special, which he went on to prove when he carried a movie in The Karate Kid.

There’s a scene in this that destroys me.  At their very lowest, when father and son are living on the street, they spend the night in a public restroom in a subway station and Will Smith is bracing himself against the door against thugs trying to bust in, giving everything he has to try to carve out just this little space of safety for his son.  It’s heartbreaking.  This is one of the best dads in film history.  My favorite scene though, it one of the streaks of levity that pepper the film making it inspirational and not a dolorous slog.  Will Smith is painting a house, covered with paint, and gets arrested for delinquent parking tickets.  He’s released just in time for the interview that will literally make or break his life and he sprints from the police station just in time to walk into a Wall Street conference room, filthy and covered in paint.  It’s earnest and funny, but desperate.  Will Smith needs to stop doing Men in Blacks and start acting again, because when he tries, he’s about the best there is.Will Smith, Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness

21 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) “The Job Interview””

    1. I’m astonished at HOW many people respond to this scene. I write this column with a different film or TV show every week and I’ve written over a 150 of them. This is the second most popular (the upside down kiss from the first Spider-Man is #1). It’s a movie and a scene that proves how good Will Smith can be and I wish he picked more material that showed his talent, but to my surprise, despite its horrible reviews, I absolutely loved Collateral Beauty so I would recommend that for Will fans, critics be damned (except me of course lol).

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    1. Wow, well, thank you again so much for the kind feedback. It’s always nice to know what you write has had some ripple out in the world, especially when I wrote this years ago. This blog was begun as a project during the worst time of my life as a sort of “issue-free preserve”. Where I could just talk about the things I found cool and the stories that I use to cope with reality. Now, four and a half years later, it’s got 3300 odd articles on it and it’s just part of my day. I’ve met some good friends through discussions on Killing Time, and I’m so happy to have you along.

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      1. I’m soooooo happy we’ve connected–no accident, that 🙂 Isn’t it funny how the worst things can bring out the best? I think adversity can be a secret, unimagined portal that unlocks wonders that make life so much richer. The trick is, taking the risk to move/work through it. I’m so impressed by, and appreciative of, your accomplishment. 🙂

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      2. Well again you’re too kind, and I would trade in everything I have ever written to not have gone through what I have. The veteran KT readers know about it and were very supportive but I like to talk about others stories than my own. If you’re curious, just search for a post that says Killing Time is Going on Hiatus (obviously I came back lol).

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      3. Ok, I probably should have done this awhile ago anyhow, but if you go to the “About Killing Time” tab at the top, the last paragraph now contains two links and I just tested them. Sorry about that.

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