Pursuit Of Happyness by Gabriele Muccino Analysis

Table of Content

In the movie Pursuit Of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino, the bathroom setting plays a crucial role in revealing the depth of a character. Specifically, this setting showcases Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) and Christopher (played by Jaden Smith) as they are compelled to sleep in a public toilet at a San Francisco subway station. Through various cinematic techniques such as camera work, motif, lighting, and sound effects, Muccino helps us comprehend Gardner’s intentions and why this moment represents the lowest point in his life. Consequently, these elements provide the audience with a profound insight into Chris Gardner’s character.

The use of camera work in the bathroom setting by Muccino effectively conveys various ideas and emotions that deepen our understanding of Chris Gardner. The opening scene depicts Chris and his son Christopher sitting at opposite ends of a park bench, symbolizing their current separation caused by the harsh reality of homelessness. Positioned between them is the Bond Density Scanner, which Chris desperately tries to sell to make ends meet. He sacrificed his life savings and even his marriage to become a salesman for these scanners. By capturing the bathroom at eye level, the film reveals the deplorable state of the public toilet in vivid detail. This portrayal exaggerates its size, reflecting the intimidating and frightening experience of spending the night there. Furthermore, a high angle shot highlights Chris and his son on the ground in the bathroom, emphasizing just how dire their situation has become.

This essay could be plagiarized. Get your custom essay
“Dirty Pretty Things” Acts of Desperation: The State of Being Desperate
128 writers

ready to help you now

Get original paper

Without paying upfront

Both Chris and his son are sitting on toilet paper spread out on the ground in an attempt to maintain some level of cleanliness. This illustrates how Chris is determined to keep his son safe and happy despite the challenging circumstances. Through a high angle shot, we see Chris and Christopher sitting on the toilet paper, revealing their emotions. Chris has a lifeless and desperate expression on his face, reflecting his worries and fears. However, he hides these feelings from Christopher. On the other hand, Christopher appears exhausted and asleep against his father, displaying not only physical tiredness but also mental fatigue from their unstable living situation. This cinematography effectively conveys both Chris Gardner’s desperation for a secure place to sleep as well as his profound love for his son.

Muccino also employs lighting and sound effects to amplify the impact of the situation. In this bathroom setting, a white, bright light is utilized. The intensity of this light makes it uncomfortable to look at, leaving nothing hidden from its penetrating glare. This harsh light serves as a stark contrast to the difficulties Chris is facing in his life and his desperate desire for a home. Chris is trapped in a darkness illuminated by an unpleasantly bright light, as he tries to find happiness amidst hardship. The brightness of the light also exposes the dirty and unsanitary conditions of the bathroom where they are sleeping. Additionally, the light reflects off the white tiled walls, making it an uncomfortable place to rest. This further illustrates Chris’ desperation and determination to find a safe place for himself and his son to sleep. Another significant sound effect is the invasive and aggressive banging on the door by someone in need of using the bathroom. When this occurs, Chris protects his son by holding him closer and placing his foot against the door to minimize the frightening and intimidating sound. This desperate act serves as Chris’ last resort, as his foot would not be able to keep them safe if the door were to open. These elements further emphasize how Chris has hit rock bottom during his journey of homelessness. Despite this, he utilizes every ounce of his physical and mental strength to safeguard his son, highlighting his compassion and protectiveness.

Muccino incorporates motifs such as The Bone Density scanner and liminal time into his film to constantly remind the audience of Chris and his sons’ current situation. The Bone Density Scanner is a recurring feature that consistently separates Chris from various aspects of his life, including his job and his marriage, ultimately controlling his existence. For instance, in the opening scene set in the bathroom, the scanner not only divides Chris and his son but also generates feelings of unhappiness and frustration, as portrayed by Christopher. Essentially, the scanner acts as a barrier preventing Chris from attaining both familial harmony and the American Dream, effectively guarding him against happiness. Liminal Time is another significant element depicted throughout the movie. Chris finds himself constantly in transit without a definite destination, unless he is attempting to sell a scanner. This is evident when they are seated at the subway station in a bathroom setting, portraying Chris and his son’s lack of direction. Both motifs provide deeper insight into the numerous challenges Chris faces without any support, along with his unwavering love for his son, as he strives to fulfill their needs.

Muccino has employed visual and oral elements skillfully to create this film and effectively convey ideas. The specific features of this setting enable the audience to comprehend the characteristics and qualities of Chris Gardner more deeply. This setting vividly illustrates the notion that family always takes precedence, no matter how challenging the circumstances may be. It provides valuable insights into Chris’s personality and his unwavering dedication to his son, regardless of their situation.

Cite this page

Pursuit Of Happyness by Gabriele Muccino Analysis. (2016, Oct 29). Retrieved from


Remember! This essay was written by a student

You can get a custom paper by one of our expert writers

Order custom paper Without paying upfront