Warren Buffett said, “We look for three things when we hire people. We look for intelligence, we look for initiative or energy, and we look for integrity. And if they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.”
Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith, and briefly appearing in person at the end of the movie) is the man Buffett is looking for. After struggling to support his wife and young son by selling bone densitometers to physicians, Gardner takes an unpaid internship at Dean Witter to learn to be a stockbroker. A long series of chaotic events should break him, but Gardner survives, achieves and never loses his integrity.
Early in the movie, Gardner looks elated while posing with his wife in front of a large stack of bone densitometers that should represent a future small fortune. He soon discovers a very limited market in which he pitches the device all day, but usually returns home without a sale. Loss or theft of a few devices cause further losses, leading his wife to leave him and his landlord to evict him for missed rent. The internship seems like an impossible luxury, but he takes the position and slowly rebuilds. Never allowing sorrow or anger to hold him back, he hopes, innovates and never stops working.
Small scenes in the movie leave a lasting impression. Gardner’s graciousness when a rich mentor asks him for a five-dollar bill for a taxi. A tear rolling down his cheek when someone beats on the door of the bathroom in the BART station where he hides with his son after eviction. The missed sale of a densitometer that malfunctions, the bulb turning on when Gardner fixes it overnight at a homeless shelter, and the $250 sale he desperately needs the next day. The final scene in the board room seems like a shock. Everything goes wrong throughout the movie, until Gardner finally receives what he deserves.
Definitely worth seeing. I wish I would have watched it sooner.