If you need to find more purpose to your existing life, I recommend a binge watch of all the three Will’s classic – The Pursuit of Happiness, Seven Pounds and Collateral Beauty.
While these are not the easiest of movies to watch, but who said, movies have to be easy. There are some movies where your leave your mind behind and some like these where you put in not only your mind but apply your heart and soul too.
Let’s begin with the lease popular of the trio – Seven Pounds. The film opens to a distraught Will Smith calling 911 to report a suicide. His. The drama then unfolds, in past & present.
This is a tale of lost love and redemption by sacrificing the self. Smith’s past shows his mis-judgement while driving leading to death of seven lives, including his dear wife. Here the word seven pounds assumes significance. He is determined to save seven lives, even if it means sacrificing his own.
The jellyfish, his pet, is an amazing metaphor of death surviving with life all around. The poisonous jelly fish lives in a water tube in his hotel room, until the fateful day when Will Smith lets it sting him in the bathtub.
Seven Pounds will leave you in agony and in a dilemma whether to celebrate the seven lives gained or to mourn the death of your chosen protagonist. It surely will move you.
The send film is Collateral Beauty. I had to see it twice. Second time with my wife. It’s not everyday you write letters to love, death and time.
This star studded movie has another of Will Smith in a surreal role. He is unable to accept the death of his son to neuro-blastoma leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer. Loses all interest in life until his letters to the abstract receive a response in person! From love, death and time. He refuses to believe them. However in the process of teaching him, these fake actors learn more about their own lives. So does his friends, who paid the actors to get Will sign the corporate papers. They find meaning in death, search lost love and value the passing time.
You wonder if the movie is about you. You discover that ‘death’ is inevitable but you have just enough ‘time’ to make your near ones feel ‘loved’.
Can a movie hurt you? Sure this one can. The most poetic of the three listed here, The Pursuit of Happiness is a different kind of the edge of a seat thriller. It messes up with your emotions.
Chris Gardner is struggling to make ends meet and his pursuit is all about his son. Growing up fatherless, Chris (Will Smith) was determined that his son knows him. Yet when his franchised and over invested bone scanner machines don’t work, his wife gives up on his, loses his rented home and ends up interning without pay.
There are several moments that convey the message all too subtly. The constant running and chasing in the movie is almost a metaphor of running to catch up with life. Running in pursuit of something. Something that defines us. Our livelihoods or our dreams or just the dollars to pay out the bills. But may be running in pursuit of happyness (yes, it’s an incorrect spelling smart pants!).
We go through a roller-coaster of challenges that Chris and his sweet & smart son Christopher are put up with, including living in a ‘cave’ at the railway platform. This imaginary cave is actually a toilet where Chris if forced to spend the night at after begin thrown from his rented home. You almost break into tears here.
Chris however is willing to live up to the challenge life offers. He takes up the no pay job and works diligently up the ladder to finally secure his career at a stock broker firm.
When I shared this story with my kids, I felt I could relate to the stories in all these three movies. They taught me more about life than a dozen self-help books. They taught me to live a life of sacrifice (Seven Pounds), of accepting our fallacies (Collateral Beauty) and be constantly in Pursuit of Happiness.