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Opening Night – World Premiere
David Fincher, USA, 2014, Dcp, 150m
David Fincher’s film version of Gillian Flynn’s phenomenally successful best seller (adapted by the author) is one wild cinematic ride, a perfectly cast and intensely compressed portrait of a recession-era marriage contained within a devastating depiction of celebrity/media culture, shifting gears as smoothly as a Maserati 250F. Ben Affleck is Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on the day of their fifth anniversary. Neil Patrick Harris is Amy’s old boyfriend Desi, Carrie Coon (who played Honey in Tracy Letts’s acclaimed production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) is Nick’s sister Margo, Kim Dickens (Treme, Friday Night Lights) is Detective Rhonda Boney, and Tyler Perry is Nick’s superstar lawyer Tanner Bolt. At once a grand panoramic vision of middle America, a uniquely disturbing exploration of the fault lines in a marriage, »
Just last year audiences were treated to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which saw Ben Stiller undertake a world-traversing voyage to understand the meaning of life. This time it’s Simon Pegg trying to get in touch with his happy-self in Hector and the Search for Happiness. Based on French psychiatrist François Lelord’s best-selling novel of the same name, and directed by Peter Chelsom, Simon Pegg plays our dissatisfied protagonist Hector; a quirky psychiatrist who realises his methods aren’t helping his patients, and so embarks on a trip around the world in a bid to discover the secret of happiness.
Among the destinations Hector jaunts too are Shanghai, The Himalayas and more. Chelsom does well to capture the energy of the various locales, and if nothing else the aesthetics in Hector are mostly impressive, all the more so when you consider the tight budget. As for the film’s relatable messages, »
- Amon Warmann
★☆☆☆☆A misfiring Simon Pegg slips up yet again in Peter Chelsom's Hector & the Search for Happiness (2014), a woeful excuse for a British dramedy. Adapted from self-help author François Lelord's novel of the same name, the film centres on Hector (Pegg), a psychiatrist with a doting other half Clara (Rosamund Pike) and a life to envy. Yet, there's something missing - something that's making it difficult for him to provide his patients with the care and attention he believes they deserve. In a bid to reclaim his appetite not only for his work but for life, Hector sets off on a round-the-world adventure, making stops in Shanghai and Africa before a detour to visit old flame Agnes (Toni Collette) in Los Angeles.
- CineVue UK
Happiness means steering clear of “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” A supremely irritating marriage of picture-postcard exoticism and motivational uplift, this misguided comedy-drama tells the story of a British therapist who upends his comfortable lifestyle and travels the world looking for the secret to inner joy — like an “Eat Pray Love” remake for men with too much time, money and existential ennui on their hands. Trite, flat-footed, culturally insensitive, and sagging under the weight of more than 25 credited producers, Peter Chelsom’s film will need every ounce of charm and cachet it can wring from star Simon Pegg to achieve box office traction. Following an Aug. 15 U.K. release (in a version that runs six minutes longer, with negligible differences) and a North American launch at Toronto, it begins a Stateside platform release Sept. 19 through Relativity Media.
Attempting to reproduce the simple, childlike prose style of Francois Lelord’s popular source novel, »
- Justin Chang
As detailed in an exclusive Entertainment Weekly cover story available on newsstands now, Amy is a Big Apple sophisticate with a Harvard degree who moves to small-town Missouri with her husband Nick (Ben Affleck), assiduously chronicling her bend-over-backward homemaking attempts, increasingly loveless marriage, and spouse’s rage issues in a diary. So when Amy vanishes in a flourish of broken glass and mysterious arterial spray on the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary, »
- Chris Lee
Gone Girl, the upcoming mystery thriller based on the novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, seems like a perfect fit for director David Fincher, whose past work includes other nasty crime tales like Se7en and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The casting for the two lead roles is also pretty ideal: Ben Affleck as out-of-work journalist Nick Dunne and Rosamund Pike as his wife, Amy, who moves with Nick from New York City to his small, rural hometown after Nick’s mother falls ill.
On their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing under suspicious circumstances, leaving behind only one of her traditional romantic treasure hunts with clues for Nick to follow. The disappearance draws widespread attention from the public ...
- H. Shaw-Williams
A rich white man tours the misery of others to learn about happiness. Yes, it is as offensive as it sounds. I’m “biast” (pro): love Simon Pegg
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not read the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Are you poor, living in squalor, working a demeaning job, suffering from a lack of white male privilege, and/or fatally ill? Well, you should thank your lucky stars that you’re not Hector (Simon Pegg: Cuban Fury, The World’s End). He may be a wealthy psychiatrist living the high life in London, but he’s just not happy. Not with his gorgeous, enormous flat. Not with his beautiful, brilliant, and attentive girlfriend, Clara (Rosamund Pike: A Long Way Down, The World’s End). So off he goes, jetting around the world — sometimes in first class! »
- MaryAnn Johanson
The Flickering Myth Podcast goes on a search for happiness…
Flickering Myth deputy editor Luke Owen sits down with the director of Hector and the Search for Happiness Peter Chelsom to talk about the movie, working with Simon Pegg and what it’s like shooting around the world.
Hector and the Search for Happiness is released in cinemas today, read our ★★ review here.
Hector (Simon Pegg – Shaun of the Dead, The Worlds End, Paul) is an eccentric yet loveable psychiatrist who finds himself at a crossroads in life; his patients just aren’t getting any happier and his life is going nowhere. Feeling trapped between his mundane daily routine and his neurotic girlfriend, Clara (Rosamund Pike – Made in Dagenham, Jack Reacher), Hector decides to break away from his sheltered London life and go on a global quest to find out whether happiness truly exists – and more importantly, whether it exists for Hector. »
- Luke Owen
Directed by Peter Chelsom
A psychiatrist searches the globe to find the secret of happiness.
It’s really hard to dislike Simon Pegg (unless you’re our own Rohan Morbey) and it’s even harder to dislike him when he is doing a movie that is trying its hardest to be positive. In a world with such a bleak outlook on life, we should be praising a movie like Hector and the Search for Happiness for at least trying to give us some levity. Make us take note of the things we have and why we should be pleased to have them. But sadly this is not the case. Because Simon Pegg is pretty unlikeable in this sanctimonious, forgettable and rather bland movie.
Pegg plays the titular Hector, »
- Luke Owen
It is safe to say that Gone Girl is one of the most anticipated films of the fall. It’s also safe to say that we have heard some conflicting information about the film and how director David Fincher has opted to alter the ending of the source novel by Gillian Flynn, further complicated by the fact that Flynn herself penned the screenplay. With that in mind, Fincher has attempted to clarify to EW what he meant when he said that he was “starting from scratch” when it came to the ending. Unfortunately, the result is even more confusing.
Fincher told EW (via Collider) that he has not really started from scratch in terms of the ending, but that he has also, certainly, started from scratch. Here’s what he said in response to the question about “what has been changed from the stage to the screen”:
Everything and »
- Lauren Humphries-Brooks
Anglophile alert! One of my favorite unsung movies is Peter Chelsom's "Funny Bones," a portrait of comic performers at the British seaside resort Blackpool. It's a very specific, happy/sad movie with terrific performances from Oliver Platt, Jerry Lewis and especially Lee Evans, who channels Buster Keaton. It didn't make much of a splash back in 1995, but it's one of Chelsom's own favorites, and he makes a welcome return to that kind of witty British moviemaking with "Hector and the Search for Happiness," starring two of my other faves, Simon Pegg and Rosamund Pike. Based on a bestselling memoir by a real-life French psychiatrist, the anglicized movie follows stick-in-the-mud shrink Hector (Pegg) on a quest around the world for happiness. He leaves behind his fiance (Pike) to connect with strangers, from a wealthy businessman (Stellan Skarsgard) who shows him around Shanghai and a monk in Tibet to a dangerous »
- Anne Thompson
Ben Affleck is using his personal experiences to perfect his performance in "Gone Girl."The actor and his onscreen wife, Rosamund Pike, are gracing the cover of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly as Nick and Amy Dunne, the troubled couple in the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling crime thriller.In the pic, the pair is posing on their wedding day, with the blushing bride all smiles as her husband looks nervous and mysterious. The "Batman v. Superman" star opened up about preparing for the role, saying, "It wasn't something I had to do a lot of research for." "I knew what it was like to have the tabloid world paying attention to me and ascribing negative motivations to whatever I might be engaging in," he told the mag (referring to his very public relationship with Jennifer Lopez). "I knew what it was like to be cast in a »
- tooFab Staff
There are very few films I’m looking forward to this year as much as Gone Girl. Not only am I a huge fan of director David Fincher, I love the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name. The film stars Ben Affleck as a man who becomes the lead suspect when his wife (Rosamund Pike) disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary. Fincher made a big splash earlier this year when he claimed that the ending had been completely changed, stating that he had “started from scratch.” This upset some die-hard fans of the book (Flynn has subsequently stated that the rumors were exaggerated), but I think we’re in good hands regardless of whether or not it has been changed. Not only is Fincher a genius, but Flynn herself wrote the screenplay. I’m sure whatever happens is true to her vision. Today Fincher hilariously (and probably intentionally) confused »
- Evan Dickson
Ben Affleck reveals his own public scrutiny helped in his portrayal of Nick Dunne -- a man suspected of foul play following his wife's disappearance -- in the highly anticipated film adaptation of Gone Girl. The Oscar winner talks about his role in the new Entertainment Weekly, on the cover of which he and co-star Rosamund Pike pose as their characters' Nick and Amy Dunne in an eery wedding photo. »
- Erica Tempesta
Say what you will about Ben Affleck and his hitherto patchy career – I’m a fan, regardless. You cannot help but admire an actor who goes unabashedly and unapologetically full throttle on every role he takes – even when it is the lead in Gigli. I’m also a big fan of David Fincher, and of quality drama, so it’s safe to say my anticipation level for Gone Girl is reaching fever pitch. The film is based on the bestselling book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, and interestingly, Flynn herself adapted the screenplay. Co-starring Rosamund Pike (The World’s End), Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) and Tyler Perry (Star Trek), it tells the story of a man thrust into the centre of an intense media circus after the disappearance of his wife places him under suspicion for her murder.
Though we still have many weeks »
- Sarah Myles
Gone Girl might be one of our most anticipated movies of the Fall, since the Gillian Flynn book was so addictive and creepy. The recent trailer and pictures have been assurances that director David Fincher is doing justice to the source material, and on the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, we get a bone-chilling wedding picture (Ben Affleck's character Nick is accused of murdering his wife, played by Rosamund Pike). Fincher also gives a really good reason for casting Affleck. "We knew we needed somebody who was charming and could be seductive, who could be a ladies' man, a guy's guy, a frat boy. But most important, [someone] who had the wits and experience of knowing that situation. The gift of having Ben Affleck is that this is a guy who knows. He knows what a lose-lose situation is and understands what's funny about it, however sad." Affleck added that to play Nick, »
Something is very, very off here... The latest image of Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as Nick and Amy Dunne on their wedding day is equal parts eerie and discomforting. The Entertainment Weekly cover shows the actors posing on their special day, with the blushing bride all smiles as her husband cradles her arm. But little does she know that her groom is peering over her looking nervous, and definitely not as happy as she is, to say the least. The actor opened up to the magazine about preparing for what is gearing up to be fall's most hotly anticipated movie. "It wasn't something I had to do a lot of research for," he said with a nervous smile. "I knew what it »
The director has said that the Batman v Superman actor knows "what it's like to be hunted".
"We knew we needed somebody who was charming and could be seductive, who could be a ladies' man, a guy's guy, a frat boy," Fincher told EW.
"Most important, [someone] who had the wits and experience of knowing that situation. The gift of having Ben Affleck is that this is a guy who knows. He knows what a lose-lose situation is and understands what's funny about it, however sad."
Gone Girl will debut in Us and UK theatres on October 3, 2014. Watch a trailer for the film below: »
Being in the public eye since the late '90s has helped shape Ben Affleck's dramatic characterizations. The Oscar winner admitted in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly that being in the spotlight helped him get into character as Nick Dunne, a man who is hounded by news outlets after his wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) mysteriously disappears, in the upcoming drama Gone Girl. "It wasn't something I had to do a lot of research for," Affleck, 41, told EW. "I knew what it was like to have [...] »
Ben Affleck looks distinctly ill at ease.
Portraying Nick Dunne—a man attempting to put out the dragnet for his missing-and-presumed dead wife Amy (played by British actress Rosamund Pike)—during a key scene in the adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s bestselling crime thriller Gone Girl, Affleck has swapped his usual movie star luster for, well, flop sweat. In a sequence that was screened by director David Fincher exclusively for an EW cover story hitting newsstands Friday, Affleck’s Dunne faces a candlelight vigil for Amy crawling with TV cameras, police detectives, and somber neighbors in the sequence, and he »
- Chris Lee
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