Monday, August 22, 2016

Two films

Over the past few weeks, I've seen a couple of interesting films, both coincidentally starring young British actress Rosamund Pike.

The first, 'What we did on our holiday', was exceedingly enjoyable and I would recommend this to anyone who shares the same tastes as I. Blessed with Scottish highlands scenery, the events of this film take place over a weekend and seem somewhat realistic (as do all British films). Apparently much of the children's dialogue was improvised, or at least based on improvisation.

 I am less sure about the second film, 'Hector and the search for happiness', about which I find it difficult to form a concrete opinion. Whilst the film discusses a very important topic, it does so in a very facile and fairly unbelievable manner. The film is enjoyable on a surface level, but falls apart when one starts to probe under its surface. The photography itself is stunning but the activities depicted in this globe spanning film are very white, middle class, Guardian-reading, biased. The film is based on a French book, so I imagine that many faults derive from the book.

It is noble that the eponymous Hector, a psychiatrist, wants to find causes for happiness in order to help his patients improve. No doubt that this is the impetus behind real life psychiatrist Martin Seligman and his search for happiness (or more accurately, his search for the causes of happiness), but Seligman goes about it in a somewhat more orderly manner. Even I have written about this search.

Somehow I doubt that anyone who is unhappy is going to learn very much from this film.

If this blog's opening paragraph mentioned Rosamund Pike, then I should close by noting that her character in 'Hector' is another thing which leaves me somewhat bemused (I'm not writing about her acting which is fine enough). Supposedly a marketing star for a pharmaceutical company, she has enough time to mother Hector in their very large flat. One of her Skype conversations with Hector is very strange - she's preparing to go out, but there's no mention about where she is going, with whom or with why. I thought that maybe she was moving on and meeting new people instead of staying faithful to the globe-trotting Hector, but no. That scene - at least, to me - is somewhat ambiguous and could easily have been left out.

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