Netflix’s ‘Happiness for Beginners‘ is a heartwarming romantic comedy movie helmed by Vicky Wright and based on Katherine Center’s eponymous novel. It follows Helen, a divorced teacher who signs up for a wilderness survivalist course to turn her life around and overcome her trauma. At the camp, she realizes that Jake, her brother’s best friend, is also tagging along.
This initially annoys Helen as she dislikes him, but gradually she learns that he is not as bad as she thought. Soon, she and Jake begin falling for each other, yet he seems to be hiding a big secret about his eyesight. This makes the viewers curious about what he is hiding and what is happening to him. Does Jake really end up losing his sight? Worry not, for we come bearing answers! SPOILERS AHEAD.
Does Jake Become Blind?
When Helen meets Jake on the hiking trip, she is unaware of why he left his medical practice some time ago. Assuming he did so on a frivolous whim, she berates him in front of Windy and criticizes him for not taking his life seriously. However, Helen suddenly notices that Jake wears different types of spectacles throughout the trip and jokingly points out the same. Surprisingly, he becomes pretty defensive of it and explains that he has three separate pairs — one for his farsightedness, one to use as sunglasses, and one because he has a night vision problem.
While Jake initially eludes the topic, he later confides in Helen and tells her that he has difficulties seeing clearly at night, which he has not informed Beckett or the camping company of. This startles her, as she believes it could prove dangerous, but he dismisses her concerns stating that since they do not hike at night, he is somewhat safe. Though Jake faces no significant troubles throughout the rest of the hike, he lands in a risky situation once the group reaches “The Painted Meadow.” Since it is the final resting spot of their trip, the entire team camps near the creek for the night and goes off to explore nearby.
Unfortunately, Jake goes missing and doesn’t return for long, making Helen worry as she knows about his night vision problem. Thus, she volunteers to look for him, and after searching for a bit, she finds him sitting lost and afraid. Jake then shares that he lost his night vision spectacles somewhere on the way, and since he couldn’t see at all, he eventually got lost. He reveals that he is slowly losing his eyesight due to a rare genetic condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, which causes cells in the retina to break down and cause vision loss.
Moreover, Jake confesses that he found out a few years ago that he would become fully blind at a point, which was why he quit his work as a doctor. Shocked, Helen realizes she misjudged him and comforts him, saying he isn’t lost because she’s there with him. After the wilderness course ends and she returns to her grandma’s house, Jake follows her and confesses his love. Yet, he also states that she should carefully consider if she still wants to be with him as he would soon lose his eyesight completely.
Not just that, Helen learns this is why Jake refrained from telling her his feelings for so long, as he was apprehensive about his medical condition and felt it would burden her. Nevertheless, she accepts him as he is and is not worried about how his loss of eyesight would affect their future since she loves him equally. Hence, while Jake does not become blind as the movie ends, sadly, it is inevitable that he will have a complete loss of vision in both eyes at some point in the future.