As brilliantly funny Simon Pegg is, his performances in comedies like Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz are silly and hard to take seriously, writes Megan Appleyard.
So with each release of one of his films, it is hard to remain unbiased and put any thoughts of dubiousness to the back of one’s mind. Hector And The Search For Happiness (based on François Lelord’s critically acclaimed novel) therefore came as a pleasant surprise.
This film is a typical Pegg hit - silly in parts, and undoubtedly funny, but the difference between this and his other comedies, is that it is meaningful and has the audience leaving the cinema feeling enlightened, with a desire to seize the day and live your life to the brim.
Pegg is Hector, a very ordinary, very comfortable and very bored London-based psychiatrist, who spends his days doodling whilst pretending to listen to his dreary patients, and spends his nights living a tidy, normal life with gorgeous girlfriend Clara (Rosamund Pike). After endless days of the same old routine, Hector comes to realise that he is a “fraud”, how can he tell his patients to be happy when he doesn’t even know what happiness is himself? So he goes on an exotic journey to countries China, Africa and America, in a quest to discover what happiness is - and most importantly, how to be it.
Pegg was the perfect choice for Hector – it is hard to imagine anybody else playing this part as well as he did, being the well-balanced mix of hilarious, earnest and astonishingly likeable, which drives the movie to the very end. However, it is his encounters with each unique character on the journey which helps Hector - and we as the audience - feel like a happy epiphany has been reached.
I’d be lying if I said this movie was perfect. The only criticism the film faces is its manic direction and heavy editing – although done artistically, it is a little unnecessary for a movie with a message as simple and profound as this.
After all, isn’t the meaning behind a story the whole reason we started watching films in the first place? To feel something? Well, Hector And The Search For Happiness certainly does make you feel something - whether that be your own desire to find happiness, or perhaps the well-needed realisation that you already have enough reasons to be happy for.