Hector and the Search for Happiness (Movie, 2014)
Dramedy | Adventure | Life
Lead Cast: Simon Pegg (Hector), Rosamund Pike (Clara)
Okay. Okay. Okay yeah. Well I’ve seen this pop up on Netflix but never really got around to watching it because “search for happiness”??? What?? But I watched the trailer and decided that yeah I’m going to watch it. Give it a go.
Synopsis: A psychiatrist named Hector is the ultimate definition of the slang term “square.” His life is a literal flat-line. But it’s fine. But ya know what? Contentment is not the same thing as happiness.
Finally one day Hector snaps and begins raging because a person can only suppress themselves for so long…in his case it was, what, 12 years-ish? Anyway he decides to travel the world conducting a research project to discover what makes people happy. His patients aren’t happy and he’s not happy and he’s setting out to find an answer. He goes to China, to Africa, to the USA, then back home to England. He visits old friends, old flames, new friends, new flames, scary people, kind people, sick people, hopeful people, good people, bad people, rich people, poor people, and…etc. He asks everyone if they are happy/what is happiness and they all have their own answers but I really like the golden nugget of wisdom from a monk he meets who gives him the advice that “avoiding unhappiness is not the same thing as happiness.” Anyway, he travels, he experiences, he learns, and hip hip hoorah I can’t help but smile at the end.
pooled ink Review:
This movie, okay, if you like the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty then you’ll likely enjoy this movie as well. It’s pretty great. Something I appreciate is how it balanced the horrors with the kindness in the places he visited but keeping it all within the realm of reality. People in Africa do get kidnapped, abused, gunned down, smothered in drug wars, and other true horrors but that is not all of Africa. Africa also contains an abundance of beautifully big hearted people, beautiful land and wildlife, generosity, hope, and love. This movie did its best to try and avoid clichés but to also create plot points inspired from the news a.k.a. something people from afar (so basically westerners…so basically Europeans and U.S. Americans…and Canadians I suppose) would find at least vaguely familiar.
Okay quick tangent warning! I think it’s so sad how narrow our hearts are. When the disaster strikes we rally up to send money, we say “oh how sad” and “what’s this world coming to?” and then we turn back to our freshly made pancakes and lament because we’ve run out of syrup before we’ve finished eating and we’re left with only that nasty wannabe sugar-free stuff. We surge in support for a few days or perhaps weeks and then we bore of it, the news moves on, we move on, we forget. It takes months, years even to rebuild after a devastating earthquake or tsunami or what have you especially in poorer countries. Blimey, even U.S. American poor people (while yes they 100% are suffering and I am by no means belittling their true struggles and challenges and heartbreaks) have it at least a bit better than most other countries in the world. And yet, see here is what irritates me, and yet they still complain and whine and cast blame! Look. No government is perfect, no organization is perfect, no human is perfect. But at least you’re in the USA where help is far more possible than fantasy and not in a town in Mexico or the Middle East or Africa or [insert place here] where your children might be shot on their way to school, where children become adults way before they ever ought to, where starvation is a normal state, where torture and disappearances are as common as sales at the mall. You know something is wrong when people are literally killing each other to get a plasma flatscreen high definition television for half off on Black Friday. People are worth more than that. [insert deep calming breaths]. But more than that, what makes me sad is our inability to truly feel for those people. Sure we say we’re sad about all that terrible stuff going on in the world but do you really feel it? Do you? It’s a simple question and yet a very difficult one to answer unless you’re the awesome in awesome-sauce or just lying to yourself. This brings me back to my movie review:
Something else I really loved in this movie was the line spoken by the sick woman on the plane who tells Hector that “listening is loving.” Sometimes we try to understand but sometimes we simply can’t. But you listened. And sometimes that means the world to a person. Sometimes, sometimes it’s enough to simply truly fully listen to a person.
At the moment I’m working in retail as a sales associate in a clothing shop and whenever working the cash registers we always ask “How are you doing today?” and the customer always responds “Okay” or “Fine.” But how much of that is ever true? Honestly, it’s become an automatic question to be polite or whatever and the response has become an automatic answer because no one really cares. But maybe, sometimes, they do.
I’ve been challenging myself to start answering that question whenever posed to me with an honest answer. I’m not going to be ridiculous and start blubbing or anything but if my day isn’t okay then I’ll say “wonderful” “exhausting” “terrible” “meh” “good” or yeah if it’s true then “okay.” If they want to know more then I’ll tell them some more and if they don’t ask for more then that’s perfectly fine as well. Oh my word I’ve not been doing spectacular with this self-challenge honestly. I’m that type of person who doesn’t cry often and never in front of people if I can help it. I don’t tell people much of anything about myself except perhaps surface details that could be just as easily found on Facebook or something. I’m that type of person who shoves my emotions into a deep box inside of myself to try and keep them contained and away from potentially disrupting my life (this surely can’t be particularly good for me if I remember my AP Psychology class correctly and I’m sure Hector would have something to say about it). But I’m trying…to at least be genuine.
This movie sparked some inspiration in me: My desire to travel, to listen, to learn, and to be genuine.
Technically this movie was quite good. Good film production value, good plot, camera shots, storyboard lines, casting, acting, directing, etcetera etcetera.
But if nothing else, then I’d still recommend this movie for anyone who likes to laugh, and who likes an adventure, and who can stomach a bit of truth.
Well done, Hector and the Search for Happiness. Well done.
Purchase here: Hector and the Search for Happiness (Amazon.com with pooled ink)