Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British-themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, Heather reviewed a travel memoir of a British lawyer’s experience on a tiny South Pacific island, Sim told us about her birthplace in Richmond (southwest London metro area) but can’t find evidence on Google that the address really exists, and Becky reviewed a children’s book about books called Willy’s Stories.
On the surface, the life of Hector, a psychiatrist in London, seems happy. But it’s also static. Nothing is likely to change — his girlfriend doesn’t want a child, his patients don’t want anything different from him than what he’s offered in the past, and his daily routine is completely ritualized and predictable.
As I’ve been learning in recent years, one sure way to reduce the predictability of your life is to travel. Hector’s travels have a theme — he wants to discover the secrets of happiness. He gathers a lot of opinions and experiences to inform his search. A rich businessman takes him under his wing in Shanghai, giving us a moment to consider this: “A lot of people think happiness means being richer or more important.” A glorious moment of family and connection in Africa gives rise to this possibility: “Sweet Potato Stew!” A truly frightening series of events, every traveler’s worst nightmare, yields this wisdom: “Fear is an impediment to happiness.”
The consensus of reviews on this film is negative. Personally, I think that’s because we’ve all allowed ourselves to become a bunch of fuddy-duddy cynics. Open your mind and heart and watch it anyway — choose your own favorite secret to happiness.
The scenes in London, many of them flashing by outdoor landmarks, made us shout, “We were there!” And that made me happy.