Australian Council on Children and the Media

Pursuit of Happyness, The

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Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Theme, Lang.).

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pursuit of Happyness, The
  • a review of Pursuit of Happyness, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 11 January 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to theme and language. Children and younger teenagers are unlikely to find the movie interesting.
Children over the age of 13 Children over the age of 13 should be ok to see this movie, and will still benefit from parental discussion of its themes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Pursuit of Happyness, The
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Infrequent moderate coarse language
Length 117 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Pursuit of Happyness is based on a true story about a family trying to make a success of their lives. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) and Linda (Thandie Newton) are a couple with a little boy also named Christopher (Jaden Smith). The couple have spent their life savings buying into company that manufactures medical scanning devices and it is Chris’s job to sell these. He has great difficulty selling them and the family are behind on their rent and have little money. Linda has to work extra shifts just to make ends meet. This is causing more and more stress in their relationship.

One day while racing from one sales appointment to another Chris sees a man get out of a red Ferrari. When he asks what this man does for a living he finds out the he is a stockbroker and that the position does not need a college degree. You need to be good at maths and good with people. Chris decides if this is all that is needed then he can do this too. His observation at the time is that all the stockbrokers look happy.

Chris decides to study to be a stockbroker but, after Linda leaves, finds himself as a single parent. Through great determination he manages to get an internship and has to balance lack of salary, looking after a small child and homelessness with studying and trying to reach his ultimate goal.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family breakdown, Poverty and homelessness.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is no physical violence of concern in this movie, but there are angry confrontations between various members of the family.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five, including the following:

  • Christopher’s mother leaves him to move to New York
  • Chris cries when he and his son have nowhere to sleep
  • Chris is hit by a car when running across the street

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over the age of 13.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Coppertone sun cream
  • Toyota
  • Pacific Southwest Airlines

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

None

Use of substances

Linda smokes

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Father and son discuss the use of ‘Fuck’
  • shit, damn, asshole, hell, damn, son of a bitch

In a nutshell

The main message of this movie is that if you believe you can do something and have a goal, stick to it and follow it through.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • The importance of doing your best
  • Honesty
  • Family support
  • Valuing your own talents
  • Determination
  • The importance of good role modelling by parents.

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