Welcome to the Ending Explained for Happiness for Beginners, a new film released on Netflix this week. The film is directed by Vicky Wight and stars Ellie Kemper, Luke Grimes, and Nico Santos. The film tells the story of Helen, a woman who has recently divorced her husband and is looking to reset her life. Of course, saying one thing and doing one thing are two completely different stories, so Helen tries to go on a hiking trip as the first step to reset her life. The film is based on the original book of the same name, written by Katherine Center.
Happiness for Beginners is not a great movie at all. The characters are shallow, the message is equally superficial and played out, the cinematography is plain and boring, and nothing really happens in it. However, the movie still manages to expel good vibes, and this is a good choice for those in the mood to watch something where basically nothing happens.
This movie is all about the vibes, and it seems like that is the only thing the movie has going for it. There are some solid performances, and Kemper proves she has enough charisma to carry the film, but it left you wanting so much more.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Happiness for Beginners. Read at your own risk.
Why Is Helen Going On A Hiking Trip?
More than a movie, Happiness for Beginners feels more like a self-help book where the characters learn to accept themselves and their mistakes. Every character we meet seems to be broken somehow, and effectively, the hiking trip becomes some therapy for each one of them.
It is quite charming, but some people will find it boring. However, the members of the audience who can relate to one or several of the characters will find here something worth learning or at least being reminded of. We are all worthy in our own way.
And so the movie starts by introducing us to our main character, Helen. Helen has a brother named Duncan, who is a bit of a looney character. She is also married, but things are not going well. She denies this and does it while drinking a glass of champagne.
Helen is at a party, and we meet Jake, his brother’s friend. Jake might be younger than Helen by at least five years, but he is totally into her. The problem is that she doesn’t realize it. And so, Helen promises that everything is well with her and her husband. They will be fine.
We jump in time several years, and well, Helen is having a divorce. She is signing the papers and leaving that stage of her life behind. However, it seems her ex-husband forgot about it and is constantly calling her to discuss even the most mundane details.
Helen has had enough. So, she decides to go on a hiking trip she has always wanted. She is about to reset her life and start all over again, so she thinks getting out of her comfort zone should be enough. She goes to her grandma and then leaves for the hiking trip.
When Helen arrives at the place where she will meet her guide, she realizes she will actually be on a hiking trip with an entire group of people. It isn’t very pleasant, but it is all part of her adapting and leaving her comfort zone.
The group comprises Hugh, Kaylee, Mason, Mike, Sue, and Beckett, their guide, who is very passionate about hiking. Beckett treats the group as if they are going to go to hell, and they all get a bit scared about it. However, in what seems like a huge coincidence, Jake is also part of the group.
Does Helen Manage To Reset Her Life?
Meeting Jake on the trip is very shocking to poor Helen. She wonders why he is there, and he explains that he wanted to make this trip ages ago. The meeting there is just a very big coincidence.
Helen agrees and asks Jake to act as if they don’t know each other at all. When it comes time for every group member to introduce themselves, Helen explains how she is getting divorced and had a miscarriage. Every other group member seems to have their own issues and is looking to experience something new.
The trip begins, and Beckett leads the group with intensity. Right when they are about to begin, Helen trips over a rock and cuts her leg. Jake, who is a doctor, and the resident healer of the group, patches her up. It becomes clear that there is definitely tension between these two characters. Jake likes her and wants to become closer to her, but Helen sees him as something not worth the risk. He is younger, a friend of her brother, and many more things. The trip continues, and the pair also starts getting closer to other group members.
Jake is quite handsome, and it seems all the other girls in the group are checking him out. Helen becomes a bit jealous, but Jake also does the same when he realizes that Helen is still in contact with her ex-husband. It doesn’t seem right.
Hugh trips over a rotten log, and Helen steps up, patching him up and then looking for Jake and Beckett. They manage to take Hugh to an ambulance. However, before he goes out of the picture, Hugh advises Helen to just come clean before Jake and admit they like each other.
Later, Helen realizes that Jake is not around and looks for him in the darkness. When she finds him, he feels a huge relief. He explains that his sight has become worse and worse lately, and this is the reason he cannot practice medicine anymore. He lost his glasses and couldn’t find his way in the dark.
They talk more, and Jake finally explains how he likes Helen and thinks his ex-husband never deserved her. They accept that they like each other, but Helen doesn’t seem ready for a new relationship. When the trip ends, they say their goodbyes, and Jake leaves her a letter.
Helen opens the letter at her grandma’s home and reads the poem inside. A love poem. Jake arrives later, and they meet once again, and this time it seems Helen has finally gotten into a state of mind where she can allow herself to give this relationship a chance.