Hector’s life is all under control. Everything has a place and everything happens in its regular, ordered way – and that’s just the way he likes it. As a psychiatrist, Hector (played by Simon Pegg) spends his days with a range of people, each are dealing with the challenges they’ve been subjected to in their lives – each in their own, drawn out and needy way. Hector listens patiently and nods understandingly, giving the occasional advice or treatment. His girlfriend, Clara (by Rosamund Pike) likes their relationship as it is too – she’s grown to love Hector’s ways, his foibles and his endearing habits. They’ve developed a very comfortable life together. But that’s just it … their life is comfortable, not exciting, not joyous, not turbulent – just comfortable. Hector starts to wonder about being happy – really happy. He asks Clara and those around him about it, but he can’t get a satisfactory answer, so he decides to do some research. But how? … where to start? He takes himself to places he thinks will give him the answer. First to China where he hooks up with a rich banker and sees Shanghai life up close, then to the Tibetan mountains, then to see ex-colleagues in Africa and America, just in case their work has uncovered anything. But will he find the answer? … What is the secret to true happiness? … Is that even possible? … How will I know when I have it?
This is a pleasant and entertaining movie. Hector is a lovely, quirky character who starts this quest in his inimitable style and searches a range of lifestyles and environments around the globe to find the essence of happiness. We travel with him and enjoy his adventures and his learnings along the way. He makes some poignant statements on life principles which will resonate with us all, I’m sure. Mostly, the global antics are entertaining, but I did find his experiences in Africa a little implausible – but I guess that can happen in a comedy. Overall, it’s a very nice movie. Rosamund Pike is lovely as his equally quirky partner, Clara. Some great other actors pop up in this which is a lovely surprise – particularly Toni Collette as Agnes and Christopher Plummer as a Professor with a research bent for happiness, both in Los Angeles – he’s really great here. This is the movie version of Francois Lelor’s novel “Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche de Bonheur”. You could while away a couple of hours with this movie pretty easily.
Made in 2014. Directed by Peter Chelsom.