Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Tracy Ann Oberman, Jean Reno
A psychiatrist searches the globe to find the secret of happiness.
Simon Pegg remains as charming as ever, but Hector and the Search for Happiness drowns his appeal in schmaltz.
  • Relativity Media Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 14 Aug 2014 Released:
  • 03 Feb 2015 DVD Release:
  • $1.1M Box office:

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Trailer:

Heartwarming and thought provoking9/10
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Hector, the acting and production all top class, Mr Pegg showed his acting maturity and Rosamund Pike played her role perfectly, the final scenes were quite poignant and not what I was expecting at all. Toni Collette at the end of the film giving a strong performance and Hector and the audience something to think about, I have used a couple of the things he discovers on his journey in my life already. Some are a bit obvious but there is some good advice in there. If you are looking for an alternative to some predictable movie with an over muscled pretty boy blowing stuff up, this could be for you. Go see it.
A rather mature film from Simon Pegg8/10
At the time of writing this review, there is a massive absence of films suitable for audience who does not necessarily enjoy titles such as Expendables III or Hercules. If you happen to be one who seeks some deeper meaning in your movie experience, this film is for you. In fact if you are not, you may still find some aspects of the film entertaining enough.

In summary, the main character Hector has some grown up problems and in order to find some closure to his past issues, he takes an epic journey. From a Simon Pegg film, you would expect these journeys to be very funny and light adventures. Sometimes these adventures are indeed funny and light but mostly they are rather serious. Issues faced include midlife crisis, relationship problems, corruption and poverty in Africa, etc. The film has a fast enough phase an it is never boring or depressing, yet it can be both funny and serious at the same time. I believe the film is currently underrated by the IMDb crowd.

If you have watched Simon Pegg films with zombies, aliens or cops and you are looking to find more of the same experience, this film might not satisfy your expectations. This film is a genuine and sometimes lightly philosophical attempt to ponder and think about what makes us human beings happy and satisfied with ourselves.
Uneven film with some good moments6/10
Hector is a forty something psychiatrist with an enviable life. He has a beautiful apartment, a gorgeous girlfriend who does everything for him, and a thriving, although according to the voice-over, under charged practice. But he's not happy, which may have something to do with the decades old picture of an ex girlfriend that he hides in his sock drawer. So in order to find out what makes people happy he takes off on a around the world trip in search of the intangible.

Part travelogue, part comedy, and part pathos, the film never seems to come together despite a few good moments. Perhaps it is because it is trying to be too many things at once. Simon Pegg attempts to hold together a film that seems at best an exercise in navel gazing, but despite his ability to make us root for his everyman character the film just doesn't click. Not a complete disappointment but not something I would run out and see again.
Excruciatingly painful viewing1/10
I'm not sure which movie the other people on this review board have been watching, because when I went to see this (in Canada), even total strangers were compelled to connect afterwards about how painful it was, while leaving the cinema to meet their other friends who had walked out earlier..

I normally love Simon Pegg, love what you might call "existential" or "whimsical" stories such as Amelie, Walter Mitty, About Schmidt, anything along that broad spectrum between Love Actually and Ingmar Bergman.

But, THIS..

Paradoxically, one of the life-rules it thrusts down your gullet with all the subtlety of feeding a foie gras goose, is that you should be true to yourself, and genuine....exactly like this movie isn't.

It's told from a distinctly lazy, privileged, patronising and comfortable point of view, and even offensively stereotypical and superficial about non-western cultures:

In China it's all big dinners and sleazy old white dudes with high-class Asian hookers and migrant workers everywhere..

Africa is all about dangerous and primitive conditions with a few casual lines of dialogue thrown in about how foreign aid doesn't get to the people who need it.

Simon Pegg, after being pistol-whipped repeatedly in the face, defecating in a bucket and left to rot by kidnappers, then being dumped by the roadside and narrowly escaping death...is miraculously and instantly in the mood to party. Cue: Reams of colourfully dressed Africans, apparently with nothing better to do than to than dance around as if straight out of a Kenyan tourist board commercial, make everything OK again in, like, two minutes flat. Any human would be traumatised and need recovery in hospital after that ordeal but there is no time to be authentic in this movie, we've got synthetic emotions to ooze and platitudes to preach. "The audience won't notice.."

Oh, and then there is a revelation of an interracial gay couple, which is meant to be poignant and meaningful, except we really don't know these guys and therefore don't care whatsoever. It's as if the filmmakers assume that the audience are brain dead peasants who have been locked in a room their whole lives: "Gay interracial couples exist folks, it's true" Wow...really?

Sometimes a bad movie is just a bad movie for whatever reasons and that is a shame, but what really got me so incensed with this was the flippant way it dealt with huge important concepts such as: Happiness, relationships, race, sexuality, culture etc.etc.

It's like a casual holiday travelogue with a thin veneer of paint on top, promising: "If you, as a human, sometimes think about your place in the universe and what happiness is, then you will want to watch this and be rewarded by learning a thing or two."

To which I responded: "Great, here's my $15, can't wait!" But underneath the paint there is just...more paint. Maybe, just maybe, they could make fortune cookies with the messages in this movie, that might fit the maturity level of the wisdom it literally RAMS down your throat.

And don't get me started on the jolly Tibetan Monks...the Dalai Lama would cringe.
It's theeeee most meaningful movie i have ever seen10/10
This is for the first time I am writing a review for a movie despite the fact that i have been a big time movie buff for 20 years. Reason...I was compelled to step out of my own resignation. Of all the brilliant movies out there, this one, in my humble opinion, has the power to shift something deep inside 'most' people. Most.... but not all,,, for some people are so inured into the vagaries of life that they might lose patience with a somewhat slow pace of the movie. Well, losers....have patience...it will pay. If you are someone who values time....YOUR TIME...ON THIS PLANET...you've gotta watch this. There is no incomprehensible philosophical blabbering in this....just plain and authentic experiential learning of a psychiatrist committed to figuring out the answer of perhaps the oldest question of mankind in a non judgmental objective way. Categorically recommended to everyone with even an ounce of brain.