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Pursuit of Happyness - Movie Review

Essay by   •  January 19, 2013  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,395 Words (6 Pages)  •  2,147 Views

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Personality Theory Paper

A major reason why we enjoy watching films is for its ability to give us an insight into the character's lives and personality. How different their personality traits can be their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and how they react to different situations. We get totally immersed in the character's life and story for those few hours. We find a movie interesting not only because of a captivating story but also for the unique personality traits played by the actors. Films are enormously successful in portraying positive and negative traits individuals can have like neuroticism, personality disorder, schizophrenia, human motivation, self actualization, etc.

Having said that, this week's assignment is to choose a character from a film and analyze his or her personality using three theories. I have chosen the film "Pursuit of Happy-ness" and the chosen theorists for evaluating the character personality will be Adler, Allport, and Maslow. The purpose of this paper will be to draw connection between the character's personality and the theory used to explain it by using relevant events depicted in the movie, examples of behavior, etc. The first section of the paper will provide a brief demographic background of the character of the film. The second section of the paper will focus on the evaluation of the character according to the three theories and discuss what social, cultural, environmental, biological or unconscious factors that may influence the character's behavior.

Summary of "Pursuit of Happy-ness"

Set in 1980s in San Francisco, Pursuit of Happy-ness is a film based on the true life events of an African American male, Christopher Gardner, a struggling salesman trying to make two ends meet. He has a five-year-old son and wife Linda, who works two jobs to help pay the bills. Despite of the hardships he is portrayed as a positive individual and believes that he is destined for a better career path. He notices a man drive up in a red sports car, and asks him "What do you do and how do you do it?" The man tells him that he works as a stock broker and that one needs to be good with numbers and people to be successful. He looks around himself and sees that people were happy in their lives and he wanted to be one of them. He decides to apply for internship in one of the investment firms to bring about a change in his situation. He is shown to have tremendous persistence and finally impresses one of the top officers by solving a Rubik's cube in record time that indicated his natural talent for logic and analytics.

Meanwhile, the financial pressure and strain takes a toll on Linda, and she decides to take up a job in New York. Although she feels sad to leave her son behind she has confidence that her husband will take good care of their son. At this point he feels disappointed but does not lose hope. Chris takes up the internship at the firm with no salary for six months and a slim chance of making it. His financial conditions get worse, and he is evicted from his apartment eventually spending nights in public restrooms and shelters with his son. His extraordinary dedication and commitment is portrayed through his ability to work at the firm during the day, study at nights in the shelters and sell bone density scanners during the weekends. At the end, he survives through the six months of the internship and lands a job as a stock broker that led him to start his own firm and sell it for millions in 2006.

Christopher Gardner's personality evaluation

Adler's point of view. Adler's psychodynamic theory emphasized the individual's compensatory strivings for mitigating inferiority feelings. He believed in the individual's capacity to strive to be an effective social being by coping with feelings of helplessness and inferiority. People's feeling about self will direct their behavior in future and achieve goals (Cervone & Pervin, 2010).

Based on Adler's theory, Chris Gardner's feeling of inferiority was first shown when he sees a stock broker drive up in a fancy sports car and wondered why he could not have the same thing. He envied people who were happy around him and felt helpless with his situation. This feeling motivated his will to strive for better, an upward drive that helped him form goals and direct his future actions.




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