The Pursuit of Happiness: Hector and the Search for Happiness

This post contains spoilers.

Still from Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014).

Recently, I watched a movie called Hector and the Search for Happiness this weekend and I could not be more unhappy. In his attempt to find happiness, Hector, played by Simon Pegg, led a rather mundane lifestyle. Depicted as a well-off psychiatrist in a stable relationship, Hector found himself stuck in a rut, almost as if he felt too “comfortable”. Acknowledging his lust for adventure, Hector embarks on a journey to find the true meaning of happiness. His journey consist of meeting an egotistical businessman who shows him the finer things in life, cheating on his long-term(and dare I say committed) girlfriend with a prostitute in China, getting mixed in the affairs of a drug lord in Africa, and deliberately crossing pathways with an ex-lover of his in California. Overall, there is a lot of travel being done. In spite of this, Hector’s falsified intentions were to merely explore what the world has to offer and use these insights in order to strengthen his various connections with his patients in order to “make them happy”. Nevertheless, this was just a clever ruse used to disguise his true purpose, which was finding happiness for himself.

Still from Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014).

Throughout the movie, Hector displayed his many, rather endearing, quirks to the various people he interacted with in the different countries he had traveled. Though I believe Simon Pegg is a well-versed actor, there was something about his character that I could not bring myself to fully enjoy. While reading reviews of this movie, a review from the A.V. Club really stood out to me, saying:

“What’s unsavory about this sickly-sweet picture is the way it turns various cultural backdrops, as well as the people striving and suffering against them, into window dressing for a wealthy white guy’s Eat Pray Love vacation.” – A.A. Dowd

Read more about the review here:

I agree with this wholeheartedly. Not once, did he take the time to show empathy for other people’s hardships. He was more concerned about his own agenda and never really took the time to understand why people even question their happiness in the first place. At the end of the day, it took one plane ticket for him to go back to his cushy life as a bored psychiatrist; however, for the people who need him to listen and understand, they suffer everyday under very unfortunate circumstances.

-Shelby Halliman

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