Hector and the Search for Happiness


Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer
Directed by Peter Chelson
Rating: A

One of the recent additions to Netflix’s Instant Watch is Hector and the Search for Happiness starring Simon Pegg. Usually Pegg can be found in comedic roles but he takes a serious turn in this inspirational film based on the novel by François Lelord. It’s the same plot as most motivating films (Eat, Pray, Love or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) but nonetheless it makes you reflect on your life and begs the question, “Are you happy?”

Pegg plays the role of Hector, a boring psychiatrist who has a good life with a woman he loves but has lost his drive to do what makes him happy. One day he decides to travel to China for research purposes, but it’s too last minute to take his girlfriend with him. She is understandably upset but this journey is one Hector needs to make by himself. Throughout his trip from China to Africa to Los Angeles, Hector asks the people he meets what happiness means to them. Sometimes this question gets him in trouble with tough people who think he’s making a joke (like when he meets a drug lord in Africa). Most of the answers he hears mention spending time with loved ones. Along the way he realizes what it is to miss his girlfriend and that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. It took time to travel and try new experiences for Hector to find what happiness is.

Throughout the movie there are references to the comic Tintin (created by the Belgian cartoonist named Georges Remi). Hector seems to identify with Tintin who travels with his fluffy white dog, Snowy. Tintin’s comics are found on Hectors bookshelf and in various scenes he daydreams of a younger self traveling with a brown and white dog. Hector also resembles Tintin a little and Pegg played a character in The Adventures of Tintin which was released in theaters in 2011.

One of the props I liked to see in the movie was Hector’s journal. When he experienced some new aspect of happiness or heard something motivating he wrote it down. He created a list of lessons learned from 1) Making comparisons can spoil your happiness to 14) Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are. As a somewhat serious movie, Hector and the Search for  Happiness has its funny and sad moments. Hector realizes his life isn’t special and leaves on a trip to find out what makes people happy so he can be a better psychiatrist for his patients. He learns what love is and how to let an old flame die.

Hector’s search makes you reflect on your own life and your own happiness. Are you doing what makes you happy? Do you surround yourself with those you love or keep in contact with  them? Traveling is a great experience to have in ones life and something it teaches you is how much home can mean to you. Or you might just fall in love with where you are and start a new life there. Hector and the Search for Happiness is a great movie to reflect upon and maybe just inspire you to shake up your life.

Photo credit: http://www.backstageol.com/promo/win-advance-screening-passes-to-hector-and-the-search-for-happiness/

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