‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ [Film Review]

Image result for the pursuit of happynessI have phases where I don’t watch any films in ages, mostly because I’m busy, and then I have phases where I watch loads in the space of a few days. After finally seeing ‘The Hangover’ a few days ago (I know, it really did take me this long), I watched ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ the night after and it’s honestly the saddest happiest film I’ve seen.

I didn’t know much about this movie before I saw it, but I’d heard the title thrown about and knew it was worth seeing. I instantly felt a connection with the characters and the struggles of Chris in trying to earn enough money to look after his son (who is such an adorable five year old by the way) and it made me think so much about the world and earning money and how it’s never easy. It was kind of depressing in this aspect, to think that anyone could end up in poverty.

However, I admired the character of Chris so much; he held up an unpaid internship, whilst trying to sell machines, whilst looking after his kid, whilst not having a home or enough money. I honestly can’t imagine doing something like that or how I would even have enough willpower to do it. But he did. And it’s so amazing that he did. Especially since it’s based on a true story.

There were a few quotes that particularly stood out to me that I wanted to talk about.

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“It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?”

This got me thinking more about the title – something which we often overlook. And the quote is totally right; it isn’t just happiness but the pursuit of it. The plot of the film is Chris’ journey to happiness but the most important part is that he doesn’t know if it’s even achievable. A lot of the time we aim for things and we don’t get them – there’s no way of telling. This is what makes his determination that more admirable, because he has the end in sight despite knowing the chances of achieving it are slim.


“Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something. Not even me.”

I love this quote because it reminds us that if we want to dream big, we should dream big. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says because they aren’t us. And I like how Chris tells this to his son, after saying he can’t become a basketball player. Just because a parent, someone who is supposedly more experienced than you, believes you can’t do it, doesn’t mean you can’t. There is no ‘more experienced’ in the possibilities of fate. Anything can happen.



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There are also two particular scenes that stood out to me. The first being the one in the subway when they have nowhere to stay. This scene is honestly so heartbreaking because Chris pretends his machine is a time machine so that they’ll imagine dinosaurs which will chase them into a cave (which is really a toilet) so that he protects his son from understanding the truth – that they have nowhere to spend the night and so will have to lock themselves in the toilet to sleep. It reminds you of how young the boy is to have to deal with this and I just felt so much for them in this moment. It’s just beyond any sort of explanation.

The last scene of the movie, however, was just the most overwhelming scene I’ve probably ever watched. It’s like the moment when you open your exam results after spending all that energy and time studying them – you’re overwhelmingly happy but so much so that you suddenly feel extremely emotional about it. It was like that. I didn’t think I’d feel it so intensely until it happened and I think it was the way that Chris didn’t jump up and cheer but he just sat there, still, and tears welled up in his eyes and I felt it more that way. Because I can relate to how it feels to have worked so hard towards something and then to achieve it – it’s a feeling beyond words. And yes I haven’t achieved something as great as he has, but I can only imagine it must be the best feeling in the world. And so even though I ended the film crying my eyes out, it also gave me hope that even in the most awful circumstances, there is always a way out – he is definite proof of that.

‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ is definitely a film that everyone needs to see – to understand the harder parts of life and the lengths we go to get ourselves out of them. It will also make you feel waaay too much but that’s a good thing, right? That’s what films are all about.


Dark Days [Film Review]

‘Dark Days’ is a documentary on Netflix about homeless people who lived in a train tunnel under New York City. I can’t say I’ve watched many documentaries, but I have to say this one was really very good.

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The main reason to watch documentaries is to get a different perspective on things (or at least that’s why I watch them) and ‘Dark Days’ couldn’t have done this any more than it did. It’s weird because whenever we hear the phrase “homeless person” we associate it with someone sitting on a street, but as ‘Dark Days’ has shown, that’s not always the case. It was hard to comprehend that they actually managed to built huts for themselves and a sociable community, trying their absolute hardest to make a good lifestyle for themselves with extremely limited conditions. It’s pretty amazing really – that dedication to life even in the hardest of times.

A lot of the time people look down on homeless people because they’ve ruined their own lives and in some sense deserve it, but after watching this I saw that really they’re no different than any of us. They made mistakes and you can see how much it really hurt them. The close up scenes where they revealed their past and how they got to where they are was really quite emotional. Thinking about it, it could happen to any of us.

What was really unexpected though, was the ending (*spoilers ahead*). I guess I thought it would end with their past stories or being kicked out of the tunnel and left on the streets, however it finished with them owning their own apartments, talking about what furniture they’re going to buy and cooking food on a hob. It just made me so overwhelmingly happy to see them happy because you could tell how much it really meant to them. And as they said, they wouldn’t ever go back to being homeless again after they had lived it tough for so long.

So I would recommend this documentary to everyone, regardless of whether you like documentaries or not, because I think it’s important to know about what it’s really like for people who may not be in the same situation as us, but are still humans all the same. It was a very interesting take on another side of life.

‘Jumangi: Welcome to the Jungle’ [Film Review]

I normally write film reviews for movies that have deeper concepts or some kind of idea that I can ramble on about, but I thought for a change I’d write about something more light-hearted – the action-comedy ‘Jumangi’!

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I went to see this film at the weekend, only having heard of it a few days earlier when I was browsing the internet. I hadn’t heard of the video game but the concept sounded interesting and on watching the trailer, it seemed really funny so I thought I’d go!

The basic premise of the film is a group of high school kids who end up in detention together and come across the video game Jumangi. They decide to play it and on choosing their characters, they are catapulted into the world of the game itself where they are to fend for themselves and complete the quest in order to get back home.

My favourite part of it was the fact that the characters the teenagers chose were the opposite to how they were in real life. The girl obsessed with her appearance and social media transformed into a chubby middle-aged man and I have to say, Jack Black pulled this off so well – it was really funny. And it was entertaining to see their initial reactions to their changed bodies but also how they coped with it as the game went along.

It might seem like a video game movie wouldn’t quite work, but I think this one definitely did! Without the comedy element, I’m sure it would have fallen short of expectation, but it was genuinely really entertaining and I loved the plot.

Without wanting to give too much away, I won’t spoil any extra layers to the story line, but I do recommend seeing this film! It’s the kind of film that afterwards you just want to see again and it’s also a movie that suits all ages – from kids to teenagers to adults – and I’m sure that’s why it’s become so popular!

The Discovery [Film Review]

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So ‘The Discovery’ is a recent film that has graced Netflix with it’s both mind-blowing and inventive philosophical ideas. I knew as soon as I read the premise, it was going to be a film I’d enjoy a lot and I definitely one hundred percent did!

Based around the concept of an afterlife, ‘The Discovery’ unravels (or discovers, should I say) a futuristic world where there is proof of life after death. Whilst the scientist Dr Harbor himself and many others are content with the news, remaining grounded in reality, others are so overwhelmed that they begin to take their own lives, just so that they can experience it. Will – the son of Dr Harbor – is intrigued but not entirely convinced by the discovery, and so it is the story of Will, alongside the stranger that is Isla, that presents how the Discovery really came about and whether the afterlife can actually be proved.

What I loved about this film from the beginning was the kind of interactions the characters had. There is a beginning scene where Will initially meets Isla and they speak of names and how names suit people up to a certain age and then they either grow into them or completely go against how they are as a person. Oddly enough, I found this quite an interesting conversation. It was just different to the usual meetings of strangers you see in films, where they introduce each other to their working life and hobbies and that’s about it. All the conversations seemed to have so much more depth to them in this movie, adding of course to the depth the movie has in itself, and I loved how the bonds progressed whilst also not really progressing at all.

At the start of the film, I guessed that the movie would end with one of the characters – probably Will – either waking up to an afterlife or falling into darkness. It seemed kind of predictable. However, there was an unexpected twist at the end which thankfully saved  me from being right and the film being just mediocre.

I think the ending was probably a lot more confusing than it had to be, if I’m being honest. It took a bit of time for me to reflect on it because it happened so fast and it was all a bit jumbled, however once it had sunk in, it really was very well thought out. It’s something that gets you thinking for hours and days because the afterlife is something so uncertain that really any opinion on it you have is acceptable. One thing I liked about the film was that although the ending could be confusing to some, it does leave many interpretations open for the viewer. You can incorporate your own ideas into the conclusion or take what you see and analyse it.

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 (*spoilers ahead*)

In my opinion, the ending where Will ends up on the beach with Isla’s son is the greatest ending of the life he could have lead. By saving Isla’s son, he is in turn saving Isla because the only reason she wanted to commit suicide in the first place was because of him. Whilst they don’t recognise each other, there is a hint that perhaps Will does. He turns round at the last minute to look back at Isla and it seems like maybe there is something deep inside of him that remembers. However in my head, I think he turns back round because it’s so far down he can’t really reach it. But there is still a sense of hope. Although they couldn’t be together, they both remain alive in this life and I think that’s the ultimate message – to be alive is better than any of it.

Overall, I loved this movie purely because of its depth of meaning and because I’m always up for movies based on philosophical ideas and concepts. I think if you’re ready to think and be overwhelmed in the most interesting way, this movie is definitely for you. And I’d love it if you could let me know if you have watched it too! 🙂

Shutter Island [Film Review]

Shutter Island is a film I’ve been meaning to watch for a while, after being recommended it and heard about it countless times. However it has only recently been put on Amazon Prime meaning I could finally watch it for free (which is always the best option just in case). Nevertheless, I needn’t worry because the film was amazing.

To put it simply, Shutter Island follows a detective (played by Leonardo Di Caprio) who is sent to a mental institution on an island. Following the escape of a patient, he must search for clues in order to solve it, but no one seems to be telling the truth. It presents his journey – almost from his perspective you could say – and his fight to uncover the truth behind the lies.

Really, it’s hard to give an overview of this film without giving anything away, so to be honest I’m not going to try to! It’s a psychological thriller at its finest and if that’s your kind of genre and you haven’t seen this, literally go watch it now! Shutter Island could honestly not disappoint; it’s just so well thought out and executed and it leaves you so confused you don’t even know what’s real anymore (and in my opinion, those kinds of films are the best).

Without trying to spoil too much, here are some of my favourite quotes:

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*spoilers ahead*

And this last one is my absolute favourite:

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This quote was from the ending of the film which was honestly just so great I can’t even say. I think to end a film on such a high standard is what decides whether a film really lives up to everything it has presented so far, and Shutter Island certainly did this.

My interpretation of the ending was that ‘Teddy’ faked going back to his pretend self in order to preserve his goodness. He contemplates facing up to reality as the monster that he really is, versus giving himself up for death as someone non-existent but at least someone worthy of a life. He believes his wife’s murder is his own fault for not helping her sooner and so he feels so much guilt it’s not worth facing up to. Questioning this to the psychiatrist, he allows himself to be carted off by the nurses for death. They’ve given up on him and he chooses to give up on himself too.

I loved the ending simply because it was just so subtle. With one single line, all of his feelings and intentions were summed up. I loved that he came to terms with reality, even if it was for a bit, as you could see the honesty behind all the pretense, but I think it really expressed how difficult it was for him. If he were to accept reality and move on it would have seemed unrealistic considering the elaborate story line he created to hide himself from the truth. To give himself up in that way proves that there is intelligence to him beneath his mental illness and to remind us that although we may not see it, they are still sane in their own way and are still capable of individual thought.

Overall, I have to say this is honestly one of the best films I’ve ever watched. The plot twists were insane and although I expected them at times, that’s only because I’ve watched too many psychological thrillers to count. This definitely sits beside Dead Poets Society as my favourite film and I thoroughly recommend it!

‘The Impossible’ [Film Review]

So last night I decided to re-watch ‘The Impossible’ – a film that I saw in the cinema when it was released around 5 years ago. All I remembered of the film was that I cried my eyes out through most of it. And what happened this time? Exactly the same xD

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‘The Impossible’ is honestly the most emotionally draining film you will ever watch. Set in Thailand, it follows the journey of a family of five who travel there on holiday but, in turn, face the aftermath of a tsunami. With fairly graphic images of the destruction of buildings against skin, it’s difficult to watch without feeling as though you’re being damaged yourself. The acting of the mother by Naomi Watts and the son Lucas by Tom Holland, I personally thought was amazing. Often in films, scenes of devastation seem rather forced or lack a sense of realism, however here I felt everything they felt and it was suddenly as if I was a part of the situation too – something all films aim to capture and one which this film certainly did.

The fact that this film is based on a true story, most of all, enhanced the emotions you felt towards it whilst watching. It’s something that could happen to anyone. You start asking yourself all these questions. Would I survive in this situation? How would I feel? It makes you feel lucky to not have been in their position.

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What I loved most about this film, as well as the acting, was the way it was filmed to seem as realistic as possible – the camera floating between the depths of the waters and the freedom of the air; the camera dipping amongst crowds to show the sheer amount of people damaged by the tsunami (directly and indirectly) and the difficulty of searching for someone in such a vast and unknown space.

Honestly, I don’t really have anything negative to say about this film because I really felt everything it was trying to convey and I appreciate how it brings awareness to these sorts of issues which happen a lot more often than we think. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I wholeheartedly recommend it. But don’t be surprised if you have to grab some tissues.

To The Bone [Film Review]

Recently there have been lots of new films and TV series added to Netflix so now that it’s summer and I’m officially free, I’ve decided to make my way through a lot of them and hopefully review most of them too!

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First off I’m starting with ‘To The Bone’ which is a depiction of a girl suffering from anorexia nervosa and how she tries to overcome it (if this may be triggering for you, it may be best not to read). I had watched the trailer previously and had heard the mixed reviews but I thought it’s always best to watch it first before making a judgement. Lily Collins, who plays the main role, suffered from an eating disorder when she was a teenager and so she draws upon her her own experiences to portray the protagonist. On first thought it is kind of dangerous to cast someone who may easily be triggered by the content, however it was her own decision to lose the weight and if she feels it can be done for the greater good, then props to her.

Overall, I really liked the film. Not having any experience of anorexia myself, it’s interesting to have an insight into the lives of those who do. When people criticise this film for glamorising mental illnesses I just think that they’re criticising it for simply speaking up about it. But isn’t that what we all need? I think the film most of all brings awareness to something that most people are completely oblivious to or don’t understand enough to sympathise or be able to help. Yes, it won’t show the exact life of someone suffering from an eating disorder, but it never will because no one ever has the same experiences. The fact that I’m writing a blog post about it now is enough to show that it is getting people to talk. And the main problem I think with mental health is that people don’t talk about it enough. If we talked maybe there wouldn’t be such a stigma around it.

I think mostly people criticised the film for a portrayal of an “innapropriate appearance” however I think, again, that this only brings awareness. It may be triggering but it is undeniably clear what the film is about before you click ‘play’. If someone who is likely to be triggered by it decides to watch it despite knowing what it contains, then it’s their responsibility. If they see something online about it without their consent, that’s a different matter – the internet makes it triggering but the film itself should really only be watched by those who feel they can digest it.

Personally, I think that TV shows, films and books are the best way to express new knowledge on sensitive and unknown areas. I remember a while ago I read a novel containing a character who suffered from OCD and it wasn’t until I read this book that I really understood it. If I hadn’t read it, perhaps I wouldn’t even know now. Therefore, although films may not be able to portray something in exactly the way everyone wants it, at least they are speaking up about it. Otherwise, how else will we be educated? A film is more likely to spark our interest, whatever the content, than being fed information through booklets or at school.

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As a result, I don’t have anything against films such as ‘To The Bone’. I think it’s brave to put something like that out into the world, especially as it was so close to the actress’ own experiences. It gave me more knowledge on something I didn’t know too much about and I think films that have that kind of effect on you are the most important.

Have you watched ‘To The Bone’? What do you think?