It's summer. Temperatures are scorching. The walk from your car leaves you overheated. Welcome to August, the one month of the year in which you might miss those winter chills. Don't believe the summer propaganda: not every day needs to be spent soaking in the vitamin D at the beach. You now have a great reason to stay cool (and inside) during the hottest month of the year, and that's that your Netflix clock is ticking on some great movies. This August, Netflix is removing some beloved movies from its roster, including The Sandlot and Charlie's Angels. While you should definitely check them out before they ditch the streaming service on Aug. 1 and 15, respectively, there's one movie you need to watch in August before it leaves Netflix, and that's the 2006 film The Pursuit Of Happyness.
Like every film, the biopic of entrepreneur Chris Gardner's life, in which Will Smith plays the titular character, has its flaws. Perhaps The Pursuit Of Happyness' biggest is that it oversimplifies the struggle to overcome poverty as Gardner had. Single father Gardner displays a great amount of grit in the film, and his perseverance leads him to a job where he can provide for his young son (portrayed on screen by Smith's real son, Jaden Smith) in spades. In reality, not everyone can become a Gardner — there's always hope to better ones life, but it would be wrong to ignore the fact that issues like mental illness, drug addiction, and domestic abuse often keep impoverished people in that state. Glaring flaw aside, however, The Pursuit Of Happyness is one movie that you should watch in August, because, even during a potentially lazy summer, it's a nice reminder that dreams are vital to ones life, regardless of your circumstances.
Most people have goals they haven't quite achieved yet; whether that goal is landing a coveted job at an investment bank or starting that Etsy shop for your cat needlepoints is up to you. The Pursuit Of Happyness is a reminder that there's only one place to start when looking to achieve those goals: right here, right now. I know that I've been guilty for waiting for the right opportunity to start inching towards some of the things that I want — choosing to wait for "inspiration" or "the right time" instead of moving full-speed ahead may have felt like a smart life decision at the time, but the truth was, it was just another masked form of procrastination. The Pursuit Of Happyness may be an extreme form of this (after all, Gardner wasn't trying to thrive as much as he was attempting to survive) but it's that extremeness that should remind you that nearly anything is possible, especially if what's getting in your way is a lot less trying than debilitating poverty or single fatherhood.
The Pursuit Of Happyness isn't a preachy movie — it's not the equivalent of a stern talk from your parents about how you aren't meeting your expectations. Instead, it's a kick in the butt in an entirely different way: it's a reminder that you have agency to change your life, even if it's in the smallest of ways. If the summer has felt like a vacation for your aspirations, maybe it's time you made it a working one.
The Pursuit Of Happyness will be on Netflix until Aug. 27, so make sure to check it out ASAP.