Movie for the Evening: Feature
“Hector and the Search for Happiness”
The eternal search for happiness, the theme of this film, takes the main character Hector, played by Simon Pegg, to locations around the world. His (mis)adventures illustrates how very difficult it is to pin down happiness. Is it the age we live in, with things handed to us by wires or wirelessly? Is it the condition of life that takes in the same measure it gives? Are we spoiled or are we after an illusion?
Hector is played with enthusiasm by Pegg but the use of exotic locations and unlikely turn of events underlines the essential emptiness of the premise.
A paid prostitute in Hong Kong is lovable and seems real at heart yet turns out to be playing a role under the control of her pimp. A drug dealer is manic/depressive and jumps on Hector at one moment and encourages his quest for true happiness at the next.
All of this leads to a confrontation with Hector’s love from the past who gives him the courage to embrace what he has, enthusiastically. The “Alchemist” comes to the same conclusion; what you are searching for is in your backyard.
The well trodden ground leaves the viewer with no new insights. Was the trip worth it? Yes and no. There is a lot to like about this playful film and the locations gives the viewer a sense of the big world beyond our own fences. But by now there should be a better conclusion as to what is happiness for us living in the Western World from a film with a philosophical theme or has the age of Enlightenment passed us by, gone forever?