Will Smith is a father struggling to take care of his young son in this touching tale based on a true story. In San Francisco circa 1981, Chris Gardner's (Smith) luck has run out. A bad business investment, a bevy of parking tickets, and back taxes in addition to rent, childcare, and groceries keep him constantly scrambling for cash. Chris thinks his luck is changing when he is accepted into a highly competitive internship program at a brokerage firm. But the internship is unpaid and soon, despite his best efforts, Chris and his five-year old son, Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith--Will Smith's real life son), find themselves homeless. Chris might spend his days training to invest and make millions, but he and Christopher spend their nights in shelters and public transportation stations.
Gardner's story is a testament not only to the love between a father and son, but also to the strength of the human spirit. Will Smith turns in a fine, nuanced performance as a man determined to protect his son and make a life for himself and his family. Jaden Smith is an adorable scene-stealer as young Christopher. The real-life father and son pairing translates well onto the big screen; the two have terrific natural chemistry. Their affection for each other is apparent, even as they weather the tough times. This is Italian director Gabriele Muccino's (THE LAST KISS, REMEMBER ME MY LOVE) first film in the English language. Thandie Newton also stars as Christopher's overworked and defeated mother in this tearjerker which was inspired by a segment on the television news program 20/20. Gardner also wrote a book of the same name that was released in 2006.