Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Pursuit of ...

I saw Pursuit of Happiness tonight. Had mixed feelings really. There were parts that I REALLY liked but for the most part I found it a bit Darwinian and Godless. That sounded terribly church-lady and I apologize. I felt it nonetheless. "Good" was survival. "Bad" was not surviving. Hope could only be found in the solace of success.

I mean, the man has been thrown out of his apartment, and is taking refuge on the bathroom floor in a subway station... and nary a prayer comes out of his lips? Not that I was looking for the Rosary or something, but throughout the movie there was this strong sense of Deism. i.e. God puts things in motion and doesn't intervene. So if God is there, he could really care less, so why even ask? There was even a church service and a choir singing and somehow they managed not to mention God through the entire song. It was a gospel choir singing about ... pulling yourself up. A preacher preaching about hard times and things getting better if you work hard enough. ????

The one time God IS mentioned in the film is when the little boy tells the Joke about the man stranded on his roof in a storm and two men come in boats to save the man but he tells him he is waiting on God. Not an accidental Joke. The connotations were clear. Even "the pursuit of happiness" is a bit on the Deist side of things. A strong Jeffersonian philosophy ran through the film.

The other beef I had with the film was that the movie could be renamed "The pursuit of Money"

I may be too hard on the flick. What did you think?


Anonymous said...


This review is stellar, love the way you think and the joke is definitely purposeful.

Hope yall had a good Christmas, are you going to be in Dallas soon?

Anonymous said...

I didn't see it, but Beeki did and she read the book too. She said her main criticism of the film was that there was too much pursuit with too little happiness.

Seth Ward said...


We won't be back in town for a few. Waitn' on that blog of yours buddy. Stephen, let me introduce you to my other Seminary stud-friend. The Cachinator...

kate said...

i have to say i'm a product of my culture -- i was pulled into the hypnotic heartwrenching emotions of the movie and left feeling like i could conquer the world, if only i wanted it hard enough... and had a cute little boy to inspire me.
thanks for putting things in perspective :-)
i tend to skip over the critical thinking aspect of movies, when they could all stand a little holding-up-to-the-light action.

Seth Ward said...

Hi Kate.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think pursuit was a good movie as well, and I got a little teary-eyed a few times myself. However, throughout the entire movie I just had this sense of unrest. Not the normal kind of unrest like you see in most movies that build stories from conflict but a real sense of fear. Thats when it began to feel Godless to me. I felt the "I can conquer the world" thing to but I also felt that if I didn't that life was going to suck and I'll be eating down at the shelter... with my kid... after my wife leaves me because I have no money.

Anyways, are you a friend of Kelly and Mark by chance? Saw you were from Branson.