Based on the French novel Le Voyage D’hector Ou La Recherche De Bonheur, this Anglo-German cooperation is Simon Pegg’s finest hour (two really) as he plays Hector.
Hector is a psychiatrist who finds himself stuck in a rut seeing the same old people with the same old problems every week.
He also feels like a fraud because his own life is so routine, both at work and at home. He is organised to the nth degree by girlfriend Clara – so much so that he feels smothered.
One day he decides things have to change and sets out on a round the world trip to see if he can
find out the true meaning of happiness.
Pegg is superb in what is his most serious and grown-up role to date, showing depths of character and ability that we have not seen before.
He also treats us to some deft comical moments as he travels the world, takig in China, Africa and Los Angeles. As he does he notes down insights before realising that the key to true happiness is … well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it?
Of course, the film raises many questions, suchas:
• Is happiness something we should all be entitled to?
• Does it mean different things to different people in different places?
• Should we even pursue our own happiness?
• What if my happiness causes someone else unhappiness?
• How is it that people in poorer countries often seem happier than those in richer ones?
• What does happiness even look like, or feel like?
• Even, dare I say, is happiness the ultimate goal that so many people seem to think it is … Or is there something deeper, more meaningful and lasting that we should be searching for?
I think of the words of Jesus, who said: “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
We learn in the Bible that He also taught that seeking the best for others, not ourselves, forms part of what it means to be truly human.
And this is something that Hector, in a way, learns on his trek all the way round the world and back again.
Well worth a look … and a think.
The Revd Martin Ceaser is minister of Crowthorne Baptist Church