Thursday, September 25, 2014
"We all want a-pe-nis" (trying to pronounce happiness) says the French woman in the film. Yes, there are times a penis makes both men and women very happy, but what is "Happiness" really? Such is the quest of Hector (Simon Pegg) in Hector and the Search for Happiness.
Hector's also got a wheatgrass juicer at home. (This has been one of my goals for a long time now, to grow wheatgrass in the windowsill and buy a juicer). Hector also has a very fine flat, and a lucrative practice as a psychiatrist, what more does one need?
But Hector feels like he's phoning it in with his patients and isn't even as sure about his feelings for Clara as you would think a little dweeb like him would be, to have landed a girl outside his league. So he sets out to find what it is that makes people happy, how people from different walks of life and countries define happiness, and in turn, hopefully, discover some of it for himself.
I think I'm far too obsessed with finding happiness, and sometimes I do believe the harder you search for it, the more elusive it is. Hector's first journey brings him in contact with a rich banker (Stellan Skarsgård) who takes him on a first class, VIP journey through China. For me, the journey would have ended here, first class travel to beautiful and exotic cities around the world, would be the key to happiness for me; even if I was traveling alone, and if not true happiness, who cares? Just to experience that kind of freedom and sense of safe adventure and food... just think of all the different tastes and heady libations you'd consume! Come on, tell me that's not happiness!
But Hector's search continues on to Tibet or some such monk-ish place, Africa where getting kidnapped and tortured surprisingly contributes to his happiness trail and back to the States to discover what might have been with an old flame or "sock drawer skank" (Toni Collette) as Clara refers to her. All the while drawing charming sketches in his little notebook and marking down words of wisdom on what is and isn't happiness to those he meets:
1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness
2. Happiness often comes when least expected
3. Many people only see happiness in their future
4. Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money
5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
6. Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains
7. It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal
8. Happiness is being with the people you love
9. Happiness is knowing that your family lacks for nothing
10. Happiness is doing a job you love
11. Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own
12. It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people
13. Happiness is feeling useful to others
14. Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are
15. Happiness comes when you feel truly alive
16. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate
17. Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love
18. Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think
19. The sun and the sea make everybody happy
20. Happiness is a certain way of seeing things
21. Rivalry poisons happiness
22. Women care more than men about making others happy
However, here comes a slight SPOILER ALERT - although the movie intends for you to come away from it feeling like happiness is not trying to control your life, that it comes inside the messy, unexpected, not always pleasant parts of living. That is not what I came away with; instead the movie reinforced the reason I'm not happy - as it leads you to believe it is all about finding a mate, making a really good salary doing something you, if not enjoy, than at least don't mind doing and living in comfort, just not in routine comfort.
T &T's LAMB Score: 3 outta 5
Comments are welcome on facebook & twitter - Which # on Hector's Happiness List do you agree or disagree with?
Around the Web
Interview with Simon Pegg & Rosamund Pike - Food in Film: one of Simon's thoughts on what constitutes happiness is PIZZA, even bad pizza, and I gotta agree!
TCS sent me this infographic to add to my Happiness post - I'm really surprised the Struggling vs Thriving Financial numbers are neck and neck, especially in light of this economy.
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