It's day two of the 5 Day Movie Challenge, which means it's time for a movie that motivates. After all that sadness yesterday, it's time to pick ourselves up, look to the future, and get inspired!
Tuesday is a day for the kind of movie that will kick your butt into gear, turn up the volume and set you on the right track for the rest of the week. A track where you can do anything, where nothing is going to stop you.
While there are plenty of movies that leave me feeling ready to take on the world, there are is one in particular that deserves the spotlight today.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
The Pursuit of Happyness stands as a testament to the power of self-belief, and a reminder the distance between homelessness and a million dollars isn't an impossible one to travel.
The film follows Chris Gardner, a struggling salesman who mistakenly sank all his family's money into "bone density scanners". He purchased a huge number of them, thinking that they would be a great sale, and that he would make his fortune. Sadly, advances in medical technology left him with a room full of scanners, no money, and little chance of selling them. His marriage falls apart, and he left with a five year old son and no prospects - a dismal start to an uplifting film.
Chris hears about an intern position at a stockbroker firm, and seeing a chance for a good career, he takes it. However, there is a catch. The position is unpaid for six months, with no guarantee of a job at the end of it. As the months go on, things get dire. The IRS clears out what little savings he had to keep them afloat, and father and son end up living in homeless shelters and even sleeping in a station bathroom. It seems hopeless, and he's afraid that having to leave work every day in time for the shelter means that he won't get the job at the end of the six months.
No prizes for guessing what happens.
It turns out that due to some ingenious methods, ridiculous persistence, and an absolute refusal to give up, Chris not only gets the job, but becomes a millionare stockbroker. His days of sleeping in shelters and lugging around a scanner to try and sell are over, and he can provide for his adorable son.
It's a simple story with a happy ending, and it would probably be trite if not for the fact that this actually happened.
The movie is based on a true story. Chris Gardner did actually live in homeless shelters while working for free, taking care of his son, and trying to sell medical supplies on the weekend. Christ Gardner is also now a millionaire stock broker.
That's why this is such an inspirational movie. So many other films may cheer you up, light a bit of a fire in you, make you want to go out and do things... but at the end of the day, it's easy to say that life just doesn't work like that. That life is harder than that, that the lead character just happened to get lucky with a coincidence or ten, and that real life isn't that simple.
But this is real life. This is proof that this kind of complete turn-around is within reach, if only we are willing to stretch for it. It wasn't an easy journey, and it involved a ridiculous amount of good old fashioned hard work, but the result was worth it.