Hector and the Search for Happiness
Director: Peter Chelsom
Writer: Maria von Heland, Peter Chelsom, Tinker Lindsay
Based on: François Lelord‘s novel Le voyage d’Hector ou la recherche du bonheur
Cast: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård, Toni Collette, Veronica Ferres, Jean Reno, Christopher Plummer
Hector (Simon Pegg) is a psychiatrist with a well-going practice and a beautiful girlfriend, Clara (Rosamund Pike). But he is stuck in his routine and his safety and his mind keeps wandering back to the “One Who Got Away” (Toni Collette). So he decides that he needs to go on a trip to look for the secret to happiness. Alone, leaving Clara quite take aback. He starts in China but his search will take him to quite a few places.
Hector and the Search for Happiness was perfectly nice, in the slightly derogatory meaning of nice. There was nothing very wrong about it, but nothing very right, either.
I do admit that I have my problems with the general concept of the guy having to ditch his girlfriend to go on an adventure (that is a lot about other women), she tearfully granting him permission to experience it to the fullest, so that he can realize what he has at home, in her. All the while said girlfriend, who is just as stuck with him and in her routine as he is, is not allowed to go on an adventure but waits (more or less) patiently at home for him to get over himself. But they did handle that rather charmingly so it wasn’t as annoying as it could have been.
Also the entire thing with the young Chinese woman who turns out to be a sex worker wasn’t handled that badly (even if it would have been nice if the only Asian woman in the cast, if I recall correctly, hadn’t been a sex worker at all). I have seen movies do a lot worse with things like that.
And that is pretty much a fair summary of the entire film: I’ve seen movies handling the same tropes and mostly handling them worse. But then again, I think that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a much more creative version of these tropes and there probably are more films that handle them better.
Despite a nice cast and a nice cinematography, Hector and the Search for Happiness is just as stuck in mediocrity as Hector is at the beginning of the film. Ultimately, that makes it forgettable.