Hector & The Search for Happiness Movie Review

Hector & The Search for Happiness Movie Review

Directed by Peter Chelsom
Written by Maria von Heland, Peter Chelsom, and Tinker Lindsay, based off a novel by Francois Lelord
Release Date: 11 August 2014
Running Time: 114 minutes
Editor’s Rating: 3 Soul-Searching World Trips out of 4

Hector’s got a great life. He wakes up, he eats a piece of toast and an egg, takes a wheatgrass shot, and goes to work. He listens to his patient’s problems and dispenses valuable advice for reasonable prices. He goes out with his girlfriend, who cuts his toast and ties his tie and preps his wheatgrass shot. They have dinner and celebrate with her friends about her job, about how she named a new drug when the marketing department just couldn’t crack the code. They go home, laughing about some drunken follies, and make wonderful, sweet, mediocre love to each other, as she confesses his love to him and he says nothing, just slipping on his snore-strips and nodding off to bed to start the whole process over again. It’s a great life. He’s got nothing to worry about, it’s all figured out.

So why is he so out of sorts? Why is he fantasizing about a life less ordinary? Why is he cussing out his more hopeless patients and starting fistfights with his (literally) old friends at the model planes club?

Maybe it’s because he’s just not happy. And how can he help his patients to be happy if he isn’t? To remedy this, Hector decides to go on a big ol’ trip to find out what makes people happy. As it goes on, he’s going to be scared. He’s going to be happy. And he’s going to be sad. Because the journey to find happiness is not a mono-emotional trip. Not by a long shot.

I wanted to start this Pegguary by kicking off with a really cute comedy, but this ended up not being the case. Hector is a little funny, yes, but it’s mostly a drama about the personal struggles of a guy who just wants to find peace with himself. It’s like Eat Pray Love, but with a guy as the main character. As someone who never actually finished Eat Pray Love, I would like to say that Hector never made me want to walk out of the room and play Left 4 Dead. So it’s got that going for it.

I think it is the comedy that keeps the film going, even when it gets really dark. At it’s core, Hector is a big cliche (The grass is always greener, happiness is always where you left it) that’s executed with such care that it all feels genuine. The film’s got a huge heart, and everything the film does well comes straight from it.

Simon Pegg and Rosamund Pike do their jobs very well, and a couple great cameos from Christopher Plummer and Toni Collette round out a very well-thought-out and relatable cast. The film goes above and beyond to tell us that we’re all just the same people, living the same lives, just in different lands. While that might sound a little bleak, it’s the film’s style that shows us it’s something to be appreciated, and that for all of us to be happy might not take a trip around the world.

Doesn’t sound too bad, but then again, I’d still take a trip around the world just for kicks.

**I watched this film on a streaming service I pay for. I was not compensated for this review.**
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