Stranger Than Fiction (2006) – Film Review


A truly brilliant film, fascinating and entertaining, Will Ferrell at his best. I was pleasantly surprised at a plot that was so extreme it had you second guessing most of the way through. This post has a strong spoiler warning, it is difficult to describe such a film without looking into some of the key events. In terms of film, we are used to Ferrell’s raucous comedies but here, he plays Harold Crick, an auditor, who lives a boring and time-managed life. Is Harold mad? He hears the voice of a woman narrating over his life. She knows everything about him and is always right what will happen to him next. Harold’s life changes dramatically after meeting the tax avoiding Ana Pascal, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Despite his new lease of life, his narrator is always there, telling his story that only he can hear. Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman also star.

Emma Thompson’s character is Karen Eiffel, a renowned author, writing a novel about a man named Harold Crick. She determines his daily routines, his thoughts, his feelings and desires. Yet she receives a phone call from a man claiming to be Harold Crick, he fits her description, he lives his life by her routine. He is the real life Harold Crick. Eiffel has a history of killing her main characters come the end of the novel. Can she face the fact that she may kill a man through her literature? The dilemma is completely preposterous yet somehow the film keeps us hooked. Will Ferrell’s performance is so convincing that we also believe that Harold Crick is real, his portrayal of escaping his dull, mediocre life is one that we can all relate to in most aspects of our lives.

The film poses an interesting thought on literature, which I picked up on as a literature student. How close can literature get to real life? Are we dictated to life by the narratives that writers create. We are all living our own tragedies and comedies, all influenced by literary tropes. The premise of Stranger Than Fiction is evidently far-fetched but the danger of literature becoming too close to reality is a prominent message from the film. Would authors readily kill characters knowing that they too are human beings? The power of writing is not on to be reckoned with and the only thing stranger than fiction, is fiction coming to life.

Overall, not one to be missed, I’d throughly recommend it especially for English students. It has comedy, drama and a message which a whole lot better than some films that are as deep as a puddle. Go on and watch it!

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