Hector is a British film, written and directed by Jake Gavin. It tells the tale of Hector McAdam (Peter Mullen – Trainspotting, War Horse). The film opens with Hector preparing for the day, cleaning his teeth, brushing his hair, as the camera pulls back to reveal that he is in a service station, a homeless man who has been living on the motorways for years.
He is currently sharing his outside space with two other people, Dougie (Laurie Ventry – Fridge, Gangs of New York) and his dog Braveheart and Hazel (Natalie Gavin – Prisoners Wives, Jericho). The three of them eke out a meagre existence, mostly reliant on Hector’s pension and the occasional kindness of strangers.
With Christmas approaching they are preparing for their annual trip to London, where they are welcomed at a shelter to meet up with their Christmas family, who all look forward to being fed and enjoying a roof over their heads for the festive period.
This year however, Hector has had some health issues and has decided to try and catch up with some of his blood family and people from his past before time runs out. he agrees to meet up with Dougie and Hazel in London and heads off for Glasgow to the hospital for tests, before moving onwards to Newcastle to start looking for his family.
As may be expected, things never run smoothly, reconnecting with family is never easy, and this is the tale of the people he meets, both good and bad, on the way to meet his old Christmas friends in London, Jimbo (Keith Allen – Shallow Grave, Eddie The Eagle), Sol (John Colleary – Jimmy’s Hall) and most especially the lovely Sara (Sarah Solemani – Bridget Jones’s Baby, Mrs Henderson Presents), who works at the shelter.
Hector is a hard hitting story. Although he himself is a lovely character, that makes the life he has found himself living all the more poignant, and as the story unfolds and we learn more about his past, it becomes a stark look at the struggle for survival facing many homeless people in this country.
The treatment that he receives at the hands of random strangers is a real eye opener, but the resilience of the human spirit shines through, as well as the real kindness that some people (although not many) are prepared to offer. The acting performances are brilliant, with Peter Mullen excelling himself in a somewhat more gentle role than he usually plays.
I have seen this being marketed as a Christmas film, and it is most definitely not that, just because something mentions Christmas doesn’t necessarily make it festive or uplifting, and there is way too much swearing for Christmas day!
A powerful film and well worth watching, but it certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
“We look like the three f***ing lollipop men of the apocalypse.”
Hector is available to buy now on DVD.