Hector (Simon Pegg) is a psychiatrist. He has a successful practice, and a neat, tidy, personal life with his beautiful, intelligent, doting girlfriend, Clara (Rosamund Pike).
He decides that he is not truly happy, and furthermore, he is not helping his patients achieve happiness either. He needs to find happiness, so he tells Clara he is going on a journey to find it. He hopes she is there when he returns.
She gives him permission to do whatever he needs to do, and gives him a diary to take notes, and off he goes on his life-affirming, worldwide, research project, not knowing when he will return. Along the way he finds new friends, visits old friends, and finds his happiness.
In China, he meets businessman Edward (Stellan Skarsgard) who introduces him to his version of happiness at a club and hires a hooker, Ying Li (Ming Zhao), to spend the night with Hector. Being un-wise to the world, Hector falls in love with Ying Li only to find out that her job was to be with him (“Happiness is loving two women at the same time”). Off to the mountains where he finds a Monastery where the monks are closed on Monday and have Skype!
He Skypes with Clara from the Monastary and then continues video conferencing with her for the rest of his journey.
In Africa, he meets up with an old friend, a Doctor helping the poor, Michael (Barry Atsma), and a drug cartel kingpin, Diego Baresco (Jean Reno). He helps Diego’s wife by prescribing less medication, and, unwittingly, his life is saved by his association with Diego.
In Los Angeles, Hector meets up with his first love, Agnes (Toni Collette) and happiness future Nobel Prize winner, Professor Coreman (Christopher Plummer). It is in LA that Hector finds his true happiness.
“Hector and the Search for Happiness” is a truly outstanding movie. Simon Pegg is brilliant. I do not understand how he was overlooked for an Oscar. I love the mix of animation and the list of research items on happiness (for example, “15. Listening is loving.”).
This is the best movie we have seen in a long time, and, it has moved directly into my top 10 of movies all time. Maybe top 5 after we watch it again…and again.
Go to IMDb for more information. We watched this on Netflix. Thanks, Ryan!
Drive Safe! Never Forget.