Tag Archives: Jean Reno

Hector and the Search for Happiness

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.

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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Movies


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Lisa Cohen (played by Anna Paquin) is really smart. She’s studying in a class of intellectuals at a Brooklyn High School in New York. She’s pretty good at school and loves nothing more than to debate the issues of the day with her politically aware classmates. Her teachers are all challenged by her – her maths teacher Mr Aaron (by Matt Damon) is overwhelmed by her confidence, her English teacher John (by Matthew Broderick) is exasperated by her forthrightness and her political science teachers struggle to keep their class under control when she’s there. Lisa lives with her actress mother, Joan (by J. Smith-Cameron) and her younger brother; her father now lives in California. One day, while Lisa is out shopping she starts to muck around … her actions lead to her witnessing a road accident where a pedestrian is killed. Lisa is deeply impacted by this and her life is taken over by it – she feels she must take steps to correct the injustice caused to the victim. She’s determined that the driver involved, Maretti (by Mark Ruffalo) be held to account for his part in the accident and she mounts a campaign to achieve this.

I found this movie very slow and hard going. Lisa is highly intelligent and insightful, but she’s also immature and idealistic, so her expectations of life and social justice are firm and unyielding. With her intelligence comes confidence, almost arrogance – most of her rich-kid intellectual class mates are afflicted with this also. She wants to bring to life a point based on highest principles, but hasn’t learned that compromises must be made in life along the way too. Her mother is infuriated by her behaviour, but she sticks it out because she loves her and she can see Lisa is troubled. Lisa’s brother is too young to understand. Lisa continues her spoilt, opinionated, selfish, childish behavior – she becomes promiscuous and even more precocious – to the bewilderment of everyone around her. She gets told some home truths as the story plays out – which she richly deserves, particularly by the victim’s long-term friend, Emily (by Jeannie Berlin). Anna Paquin does do a good job as this totally awful girl and the London Critics Circle Film Awards awarded her their Actress of the Year award in 2012 for her performance. By the way, nobody in the movie is actually called “Margaret”, that’s a reference to a play that is read in one of the scenes. Matthew Broderick gets some good work to do and he’s fine, but Matt Damon is totally wasted here, I’m not sure what he was thinking taking on such a pathetic role. J. Smith-Cameron does well as Lisa’s mother, Joan, she’s probably best I think.  Perhaps I missed something with this one ….

Made in 2011. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan.

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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Movies


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