The Pursuit of Happiness in Libretto

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A Libretto for The Pursuit of Happiness Film (Dialogue between Chris Gardner and his son in the Subway bathroom where they spend the night)

            The main character Chris Gardner and his son are seated on the subway waiting for the last person to leave the bathroom so that they can use it as their shelter for the night. Gardner is nervous and does not even understand when his son tells him that the scanner next to him is not a time machine. Nervously Gardner gives his son conflicting answers and tries to divert his attention by asking him to push the black button. Gardner succeeds in making his son believe that there are dinosaurs around causing him not to question why they are spending the night in the bathroom but only asks the father if they are safe in the bathroom before falling asleep.

            The part of the dialogue that should be in recitative style and specifically recitativo stromentato is when Gardner is telling his son to close his eyes before pushing the button. The moment is dramatically important and emotional in character as Gardner tries to make the idea of homelessness and spending the night in a bathroom acceptable to his five-year-old son. Since a recitativo stromentato leads to a formal aria, the dialogue that follows that emotional moment should be in aria when Gardner's son calms down in the bathroom and falls asleep.

            Although Gardner is hopeful and courageous, the scene described in the libretto depicts both him and the son as anxious. Therefore, thinner strings and second violins can be used to bring out the anxious mood as well as to portray the cheerful personality. A dramatic event can be appropriately expressed musically by a dramatic soprano in alternation with dramatic mezzo-soprano to bring out the anxiety and depict action that is happening on the scene.

Works Cited

Muccino, Gabrielle. The Pursuit of Happines. Relativity Media, 2006.

October 05, 2023


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Film Analysis

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