Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Happiness is unpredictable.

I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of anything Simon Pegg plays a part in. Whether it’s a Three Flavors Cornetto film, or a more American movie like Paul or Star Trek. This guy is a great comedian as well as good dramatic actor when the part demands it. I haven’t previously heard of Hector and the Search for Happiness, but it originated as a book that I’ll never read. The movie, however, was good enough for at least a one-time rental if nothing else.

The plot of the film is rather simple, as Simon Pegg plays Hector, a psychiatrist that wants to make his patients happy…the problem is that he’s not quite happy himself. How can an unhappy man make anyone else happy? So Hector takes it upon himself to tour a few countries to find the secret to happiness. His travels end up having him meet some very diverse and sometimes scary individuals – all of which are on their own quest for what they consider the key to happiness. Hector uses these chance meetings to continually attempt to find something universal that works for everyone, including himself.

Well, one thing is for sure – this movie is pretty unique. I haven’t read the book it’s based upon, nor do I have any real intention to – but it at least feels unique, original, and something that fits very well into Pegg’s expanding filmography. It’s sometimes predictable, sometimes not – but predicability isn’t something that really bothers the viewer – they instead like to just watch and experience things unfold instead. The strongest part of the film was probably the heart of the film and characters – and how no matter how diverse and different we are – we’re still human and experience similar problems all over the world.

It was pretty great to see the different filming locations, as a big part of the film was basically just the adventure aspect. It looks great – it’s not exactly a visual marvel, nor National Geographic material, but there is a lot of locations where they filmed that I haven’t seen very much in film, and for some reason I thought that gave it a fresher vibe than normal. An oddity I found though, is the choices for location in Hector’s actual search. Why ask people in Africa what makes them happy at all? When you look at the happiest places on earth…Africa isn’t usually on the Top 5. If I were a psychiatrist trying to discover the secret to happiness, I would first research the happiest place on earth, go there, and ask them what makes them so darn happy. Realistically speaking, I honestly don’t know why he didn’t just do that. But…I digress.

The Good:

Hector and the Search for Happiness is an original movie about a character that you can easily love because it’s filled with a lot of heart and great filming locations. It definitely got the message across. Plus, it’s always great to see Rosamund Pike and Simon Pegg co-star.

The Bad:

But, it simply didn’t choose the best locations to film at logistically speaking and the plot is more or less predictable and while it’s okay…I wouldn’t really look for it to watch again. What this movie needed was a little Nick Frost.


One thought on “Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

  1. I haven’t seen this film yet, but I’d have to disagree with the confusion about going to Africa. Why not? That’s a place overwhelmed with poverty, filth and malnourishment. That’s a perfect locale to go to for inquiries on what makes people happy. I guarantee those people’s definition of ‘happiness’ vastly differs from someone who lives in a Manhattan high rise apartment.


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