Hector and the Search for Happiness

Composed By: Dan Mangan and Jesse Zubot

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In Hector and the Search for Happiness, Simon Pegg is Hector, an eccentric psychiatrist who has become increasingly bored with is life.  He explains to his girlfriend Clara (Rosamund Pike) that he feels like a fraud, having never really experiencing life, but offering his patients advice about theirs.  Thus, Hector decides to go on a global excursion in the pursuit of happiness.  Based on the novel by François Lelord, the film also features such notable actors as Toni Colette, Jean Reno and Christopher Plummer.

                The musical score of Hector and the Search for Happiness was created by the Canadian composing team of Dan Mangan and Jesse Zubot.  A Juno Award-winning musician, Dan Mangan has performed in a number of bands in addition to recording his own music.  Also a Juno Award winner, Jesse Zubot is a composer, producer, recording engineer and musician known for his unique violin performances.  Mangan and Zubot are members of the band Blacksmith.

                Until I looked up the movie, I was completely confused by the direction of this soundtrack.  Hector and the Search for Happiness starts off with an orchestral sound that smacks of comedy, but abruptly, the music changes into something quite different.  Jazz, electronica, folk songs in various languages and an ethnic sound can all be found on this album, the musical styling sometimes changing mid-track.  This threw me off completely and I found the soundtrack to be all over the place, but as I soon learned, this was in keeping with the plot.  The music found on the Hector and the Search for Happiness album reflects the various places and situations that Hector finds himself in on his journey to find the secret ingredients to happiness.

                Though the music is enjoyable, people who have not seen the film or have no idea what Hector and the Search for Happiness is about will be left scratching their heads at the rather eclectic music selections found on this album.  I think this collection of music is best suited as background or enhancement to scenes in the film and not as a stand alone album.  Fans of the film will want to get their hands on it, while others who have no interest in the film will just find themselves confused.


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