Recently, I have watched the realistic fiction film Hector and the Search for Happiness, directed by Peter Chelsom. This stunning work of art by Mr. Chelsom thoroughly entertained me, and brought upon a reflective and pensive mood after its duration.

Chelsom follows a traditional plot organization of which starts, follows, and then resolves. Hector, a psychiatrist, has lost passion in his career and has developed a cynical attitude toward his patients. After realizing his loss for empathy, Hector commits to rediscovering his emotions. He comes to the conclusion that what he has lost is happiness, and with the collection of his happiness, he will return to being the “Old Hector”. So, as a true man of science, Hector sets off to collect data around the world on the key to joy. On his travels, Hector views and befriends men and women from all different walks of life. From each, he jots down in his journal their own definition of contentment. As a result of climbing mountains, meeting monks, and drinking at bars, Hector feels that he has accomplished happiness. However, the burdens of his life at home catch up with him on his pilgrimage. And, it is through these tribulations he discovers the true path to delight of satisfaction. He learns that happiness or contentment is a concoction of every emotion a man is capable of expressing.


Simon Pegg, who acts as Hector, so delicately and gracefully expresses the posture of a man who is lost and desperate for directions. Simon sells the theme and meaning of the film as no other possibly could. Peter Chelsom directs the symbolism and emotions of the film directly into the viewers’ heart, with the urging of Simon Pegg accompanying. This film should be an example to others on how to visually stun, and communicate to the audience. Following the exposition, every frame could be dissected and analyzed for depth, by means of the cinematography alone. Basically, Chelsom and Pegg send the viewer unto a journey of reflection and awe.

I would recommend Hector and the Search for Happiness to anyone who wishes to be visually and emotionally moved by a story of self-discovery.

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Shan Rizvi

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