Sunday 13 December 2015

Dark Film Review – Hector and The Search For Happiness

Dark Film Review – Hector and The Search For Happiness

Review Written By Casey Douglass

Film Poster © Copyright Relativity Media

First up, Hector and The Search For Happiness isn’t a particularly dark film. There are night scenes and some peril but on the whole, it could probably be shown during the evening on national TV. That being said, I watched it today and in an effort to keep some kind of writing mojo moving, I thought I’d review it. The film stars Simon Pegg as the titular Hector, a psychiatrist who comes to the realisation that he isn’t actually happy, his life running through the same well-worn patterns and habits, his clockwork-like girlfriend Clara (Rosamund Pike) seemingly happy to live in the same manner. As with all surface appearances, cracks begin to appear, and after an outburst at a patient, Hector decides he must go on a trip, leaving Clara behind at home.

The film then settles into quite an easy rhythm, Hector travelling somewhere, meeting someone, either by chance or some old acquaintance, having some kind of human experience, be it adventure, peril or some illustration of the fact that not all humans are total arseholes, and then moving onto the next location. All of this is then to be condensed down into a one line summary for the philosophy or pointers of what leads to happiness, and to then be written in his quaint little notebook. I lost count of how many tips he ends up coming away with by the end, I believe it was into the double digits however.

Simon Pegg does do the bumbling English tourist thing very well; his noisy Velcro pockets and his inability to hold onto pens all coming across in an affable, comedic way. That isn’t to say that he finds himself having a lovely holiday. He does get put through the mill, both emotionally and physically at times, but the easy pace of the film and the characters he meets along the way all do a good job of making it stay interesting. Keep an eye out for the excellent Jean Reno and Stellan Skarsgård in those respects.

The whole film could easily be reduced down to one philosophy, “Be open to life and don’t be too controlling.” But then, wherever would the 90 minute film be with something as concise as that. I enjoyed watching the film, as far as it went, but I couldn’t help feeling that it just feeds the bullshit notion that you have to go to the far flung places of the world before you can say you have lived. After all, there are more types of exploration to be made in this life than merely the geographical. Beyond that nitpick, it was a worthwhile watch and I enjoyed it more than I expected.

I give Hector and The Search For Happiness 3.5/5. It won’t blow your socks off but it was surprisingly acceptable fare.