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Friday, September 26, 2014

Sean Kelly

My Thoughts on Hector and the Search for Happiness

HectorandtheSearchforHappinessA British psychiatrist goes on a soul searching journey for happiness in Hector and the Search for Happiness.  Hector (Simon Pegg) is a London psychiatrist, who lives a tidy, uncomplicated, satisfactory life with his girlfriend Clara (Rosamund Pike).  After a particularly bad day, Hector decides that he needs to get away and find out the meaning of happiness.  Hector proceeds to go on a trip to China, Africa, and Los Angeles and takes notes on the different definitions of happiness he encounters.  Along the way, Hector meets up with a number of interesting individuals, including rich banker Edward (Stellan Skarsgård), drug lord Diego (Jean Reno), ex-girlfriend Agnes (Toni Collette), and happiness expert Professor Coreman (Christopher Plummer).

Hector and the Search for Happiness is a film that allows British comedian Simon Pegg to show off his dramatic chops in a worldwide journey.  As a psychiatrist, Hector’s job is to make other people happy.  However, Hector realizes that he doesn’t really know what happiness is.  This spurs him to go on this trip around the world, leaving his somewhat confused girlfriend Clara behind.

Hector’s search for happiness is logged in a notebook given to him before the journey, the entries of which are displayed on screen as Hector writes them down.  The film also features a few animated sequences, representative of illustrations Hector draws in the notebook.  This adds a certain quirky tone to the film and many of the notes Hector writes come off as quite humorous.

While there is much comedy in Hector and the Search for the Happiness, this is very much a more dramatic role for Simon Pegg.  In fact, there is a section late in the second act, where the film has a pretty dark tonal shift, which might catch viewers off guard.  This section greatly contrasts with the rest of the film, which up to that point, has been a quirky comedy.  Thankfully, the film quickly lightens up again.

Hector and the Search of Happiness has a very large ensemble cast, most of which appear for only a single section of Hector’s journey.  These include Stellan Skarsgård’s Edward, who teaches Hector how money can buy happiness, as well as Christopher Plummer as a happiness expert, who performs a brain scan on Edward to find out what truly makes him happy.  The most constant supporting actor in the film is Rosamund Pike as Clara, even though she spends much of the film relegated to Skype conversations.

Altogether, Hector and the Search for Happiness turned out to be a touching soul searching journey.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).