I may be on a holiday, but that doesn’t mean I won’t watch any films. My sister has both a Netflix account and one for Amazon which means a lot films to watch! So after a long day of walking through the amazing city of London, we watched a British film called Hector and the Search for Happiness. I saw the film trailer a few months ago and I was already interested, I mean who doesn’t want happiness in their life? The trailer looked funny and like I said, very interesting to see someone’s search for happiness. Another thing I liked from the trailer was seeing the Dutch actor Barry Atsma. As a fellow Dutchie, I feel like I’m obligated to watch films with Dutch actors in it.
The title explains the story very well. Hector and the Search for Happiness follows Hector’s quest to find happiness. Hector is a married psychiatrist who lives in London and has a very strict life. His wife does everything for him and just like they say it in the film, she’s almost mothering him. Hector doesn’t do much by himself and all his clients are depressed in some sort of way. Hector needs to get out of his life and realizes he’s not truly happy with how things are. He decides to go on a journey all by himself to find out what does make him happy and writes everything down as he’s doing research. But first his wife makes sure Hector has everything he needs for his trip. He goes to China, Africa – where his buddy Michael lives – and he ends his quest in Los Angeles were another friend lives.
The always hilarious Simon Pegg plays the main character of the film, Hector. Pegg is in most of his films the funny guy and this film is not an exception. He also shows a more serious side, like when he’s with his clients and acts like a true psychiatrist. But also those moments can be really funny sometimes. During Hector’s trip through China, Africa and Los Angeles, his character changes a bit. He becomes more mature and realises what he really needs in his life. Another interesting character is played by the Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard. Hector meets Skarsgard’s character Edward on the plane to China, where they have an interesting conversation about happiness. Business man Edward thinks it all has to do with how rich you are. Therefore he decides to give Hector the most amazing time in China which leads to events that could make someone happy.
After China we finally meet Barry Atsma’s character Michael, who is a do-gooder somewhere in Africa. This place offers a lot of interesting experiences for Hector and he also meets an interesting and important man. This important man is Diego Baresco and is played by Jean Reno, and because of Hector he realises it’s not always necessary to get something in return. Doing something good doesn’t have to mean you also should benefit from it. From Africa we go to Los Angeles where Hector finally realises what he wants and how he needs to be, and all because of his old friend Agnes – played by Toni Collette – and some neurologic professor. He returns home to his wife as a new man. Hector’s wife is played by Rosamund Pike, but she doesn’t play a huge part in the film. However, in the end we learn that her character is very important in a way that it changes Hector.
What I really liked the most, is that Hector seems to change from the moment he went on the plain to China. He doesn’t only learn about happiness – which has more to do with the people you’re with, than the amount of money on your bank account – but he also finds out the importance of every other emotion. Simon Pegg plays a husband who is really dependent of his wife, but it’s a very beautiful moment when Hector realises he wants to be independent. He realises this when all his emotions reach the surface and are combined as one, when he thinks of happy times, good times and when he thinks of his biggest fear. This moment is also a great one for the neurologic professor, played by Christopher Plummer. He finds out you can only be truly happy when you have felt all other emotions, when you have felt pain and sorrow.
I think everyone should watch this film Hector and the Search for Happiness. It gives an interesting view on the meaning of the word ‘happiness’. What does it mean for you and how can you in fact be happy? It’s a journey for everyone to find out and for Hector it was an interesting journey. He experiences some very interesting things and meets a lot of different people in his quest to know what happiness is all about. Simon Pegg plays his role of Hector very well. He’s in this film more serious than I’ve seen before, but there are still some laughable moments. Barry Atsma’s character didn’t add much to the story really, but he is happy. The actress in a small role who stands out the most is Toni Collette . Although here role is small, she does have a huge influence on Hector’s life. It’s now up to him to change.