Film review: Hector and the Search for Happiness (4 out of 5)

You have to take your hat off to Simon Pegg. Many actors given the chance, would sit back and concentrate on the major Hollywood movies, in his case Star Trek or Mission Impossible.

Simon Pegg in Hector and the Search for Happiness
Simon Pegg in Hector and the Search for Happiness

But no, he’s happy to dip his toe in the creative water and try something different.

Sometimes it works, as with Run Fatboy Run (2007) and sometimes the film slides off the scale, as with A Fantastic Fear of Everything, although I rather enjoyed that.

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I fancy this latest effort can be considered a mood movie.

If you’re in the right mood you’ll thoroughly enjoy it, if not then you might struggle.

I clearly was ready to sit and mentally join in the debate about happiness as I thought this was a very worthy effort.

Pegg plays Hector, a psychiatrist whose life is carefully planned out and whose girlfriend Clara, superbly played by Rosamund Pike, is happy to take control, even to tying his tie.

But Hector isn’t happy.

He feels his patients in the main, have little to complain about and he is desperate to take stock of his life.

So he travels abroad, meeting old friends and experts in the field of happiness and getting into all kinds of adventures.

The film is based on the book by French author François Lelord.

It could have been a wishy-washy bit of self-indulgence but Pegg has a charm that lifts a film and there is plenty of humour to keep the audience away from depression. plus there’s an excellent music score.

There are solid performances from Stellan Skarsgård as a wealthy banker and Christopher Plummer as a happiness expert.

Overall the film does have one or two uneven moments, but it is a valiant attempt to answer a very pertinent question and does leave you in a good mood.

Film details: Hector and the Search for Happiness (15) 120mins

Director: Peter Chelsom

Starring: Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol