KOCH FILM Simon Pegg stars in the light-hearted film that asks us to question what makes life happy.
Simon Pegg stars in the light-hearted film that asks us to question what makes life happy.


Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by French psychiatrist François Lelord, “Hector and the Search of Happiness” is the humane and charming tale of one man and his desperate quest to discover the secret to unlocking happiness.

Hector (Simon Pegg) is a psychiatrist who has all the ingredients in his life to be happy: plenty of patients, a beautiful girlfriend who attends to his every need and a routine system for going about his day. However, he begins to tire of his humdrum life, realizing that he has not yet fully experienced life and that he is not making his patients any happier. So begins his journey to distant and faraway lands in the pursuit of happiness.

In the manner of “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “Hector and the Search of Happiness” is light and simple, almost childish. But it is these simple, childish truths that most often escape us. And in the most humbling way, this movie reminds us of the very simple truths of happiness that are so easily unnoticed in our lives.

Some may view Hector’s learned truths as obvious, and critics have labeled the movie as “vanilla” and “unfulfilled.” However, I disagree — it may be simple to grasp the concepts of happiness, but practicing and incorporating these principles into our lives is a much harder task.

Following Hector on his mission is a meditative journey in and of itself; we see people, much like ourselves, who are perfectly capable of understanding these simple truths, yet happiness eludes them. It is a movie that necessitates self-reflection and leaves the viewer pondering long after he or she leaves the theater.

Hector’s journey includes poignant moments of hilarity, such as a French woman continuously mispronouncing happiness as “a penis.” However, moments of intense thought-provoking emotion are also seamlessly woven in, such as when a woman dying from a brain tumor shares what makes her happy. Although the supporting characters’ appearances are brief and numerous, they are passionate, and the lessons they teach are very impressionable.

My only complaint about the film is that there is a slight incoherence to Hector’s adventures. In one adventure, he is in the bustling cities of China, then a far distant monastery, then in some African nation. And although the underlying current in the movie is Hector’s search for happiness, there is a lull in middle of the movie because of  the fact that the parts of his adventure are quite disparate.

“Hector and the Search for Happiness” is definitely worth the viewing, particularly for us college students. As Georgetown students, we are constantly prone to worry and duress. Whether it’s stressing out over an impending exam or the uncertain outcome of our GPA, our preoccupation with the future precludes us from stopping to be happy.

“Hector and the Search of Happiness” is a funny, yet intense reminder to enjoy the happy things in life, even though it can be a task easier said than done. And spoiler alert: It does have a happy ending.

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