I’ve seen the film yesterday and I can’t recommend it at all. It is based on the first novel of the Hector trilogy by François Lelord but some of the literary voice and motifs simply do not work in this film and make it very annoying. Main character Hector is a midlife crisis psychologist and decides from one day to the other, that he wants to give up his comfy London life to find his place in the world and an answer to the question: What makes us (truly) happy?
The very well-known feeling of wanderlust, teamed up with thirst for adventures and the Ok-I’m-Gone-Bye-Bye mentality, is part of every student’s life. In Hector’s case it becomes part of a mid-40, who slowly but surely realises, that the fast track of life (university, work, work, work and making money) is not the key nor does it bring absolute fulfillment.
So, let’s talk about Hector. He has some sort of childhood trauma, which now and again appears, but feels always out of context and is never explained. It is just thrown at you without any relation to the scene. Furthermore, Hector suffers from anxiety neurosis, meaning he needs his routine and completely indulges in his familiar way of life. It is very unrealistic, that such a character decides, completely out of the blue, to go on a self-finding trip. I can’t understand his motivations to be honest. There are some vague hints, but they are too weak to justify and explain Hector’s decisions. Weak impulse to make life changing decisions is unacceptable and highly unrealistic.
So, Hector leaves his kind girlfriend Clara and his first stop is China. Just a few hours after his arrival, Hector has already forgotten his girl and is about to get it on with a Chinese student, who turns out to be a prostitute. The cliche of China as a sex-tourism country hits you right in the face. Let’s move on to a Hindu temple where you’re bombarded with more pseudo-morals and wisdoms.
Second stop is Africa. Again the film presents typical stereotypes: Africa as a dangerous hillbilly country full of thugs, drug dealers and AIDS. But never mind, superhero Hector is here to save the day, as he mutates into Mother Theresa after a kidnapping and can cure even the incurable with his pseudo-wisdoms.
Last stop is L.A. to see his old flame again. What exactly happened all those years ago, well, you’ll never find out nor will you get an explanation why she is so special that Hector needs to see her. I do get the idea and motivation of the wish to know what has happened to a lost first love, but I have some unfinished business with my first ex-boyfriend which doesn't mean that I have any intentions at all to see him ever again.
The film ends with Hector returning home. Enlightened, you see him skyping his new best buddies - random people he met on his trip - proudly announcing how he has taken the glorious bite from the apple of wisdom (I hope you see that I'm very sarcastic here). All that’s missing for a super duper cheesy ending is the final message of happiness doubles, when you share it. One likes to vomit!
I didn't like Hector and the Search for Happiness at all. It is full of cliches and pseudo-morals plus it is extremely long. It doesn't tell you anything new nor does it show ways out of everyday routine. The only refreshing part is Clara (Rosamund Pike), Hector’s girlfriend. ‘Hi Hector, what do you say? You are in Africa? I’m going out tonight! Bye Bye!‘.
This is not a feel good movie at all and I hope they do not adapt the other two books. If a film claims to be a feel good movie plus finding yourself and the discovery of the true meaning in life, I’d rather suggest you to watch Eat Pray Love or Walter Mitty. Both films are so intense and can truly touch you in a way that a narcissistic macho like Simon Pegg simply can’t.
Have you seen the film? Feel free to comment, even if you disagree with me :)
Till next time,
xx CAZ xx