The decision to use a director from outside the US was a very smart move. he was able to tell the story of Chris Gardner truthfully without turning it into a major schmaltz-fest that an American director I think would have. It felt honest and truthful without trying to be a tearjerker. Don't get me wrong, You will cry. His honest portrayal of the difficult path is very refreshing in a Hollywood of ever increasing schmaltz and dumbing down.
Definitely worth the ticket price.