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Stranger Than Fiction

A comedy movie directed by Marc Forster

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Harold Crick Was an Ordinary Man Until...

  • Dec 17, 2008
Rating:
+4
Imagine that your whole life, your entire existence was the creation of another human being's mind. What would it feel like to know that your actions were not the result of individual thought but were born of an author's imagination? How would you react if you knew that all of your pains and problems were no more than the whims of an eccentric writer? What if your fate, your world, even your personality were just the invention of another person? And what if your life was about to end and you knew, but had no control other than to accept the circumstances? This is the reality of Harold Crick.

It's not an easy thing to do, telling a story within a story, but in the hands of talented director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball & Finding Neverland) the end result is both profound and entertaining. Will Ferrell assumes the identity of Harold Crick, an obsessive compulsive and pathetically predictable IRS agent, whose world is turned upside down when he begins to hear a woman's voice narrating his daily activities. He discovers that his death is approaching and this knowledge brings new meaning into his neat and tidy life.

With a cleverly bizarre premise like this, you know that there will be a host of quirky but lovable characters and if this film had been directed by anyone else, these characters might have become two-dimensional and dull. But Stranger Than Fiction has a wonderful cast including Emma Thompson as Karen Eiffel, the narrator and writer who decides Harold's fate, Maggie Gyllenhaal as an anarchistic yet friendly baker, Dustin Hoffman as a literary expert who must help Harold decipher the purpose of his life and his story, and Queen Latifah who plays a no-nonsense author's assistant determined to help Karen Eiffel overcome her writer's block.
Stranger Than Fiction DVD
Now this film could easily have become over-the-top and heavy handed but just avoids to do so. It maintains a tricky balance of comedy and tragedy, of intellect and emotion. And this can be attributed to its amazing cast and its confident director. It's not a perfect film (I've never seen one and I don't think they exist) but it is extremely enjoyable.
Harold Crick Was an Ordinary Man Until... Harold Crick Was an Ordinary Man Until... Harold Crick Was an Ordinary Man Until...

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April 03, 2009
As you say Count, not perfect, but pretty damn good made to seem even better by the fact that its Will Ferrell up there doing some decent straight dramatic acting instead of his usual schtick--impressive.
 
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More Stranger Than Fiction reviews
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
I wasn't eager to see this. Then I couldn't wait to persuade my husband to see it. A weird premise beautifully executed.
review by . November 08, 2008
Stranger Than Fiction
The premise is simple but interesting: guy starts hearing a disembodied voice narrating his life and realizes he's a character in someone else's story. That's pretty much it. But the movie manages to deliver its deeper message, one about living instead of just being, without the usual everybody-be-happy cheesiness which defines so many "feel good" movies.  Will Ferrell's turn as lonely IRS agent Harold Crick is a far cry from his usual onscreen persona but that may well be what makes this …
review by . March 05, 2009
I was pleasantly surprised at this very well-done film with a highly likeable Will Ferrell as Harold Crick who is a character in a novel by Emma Thompson (I forgot her character's name) that Emma has scheduled to die.  Somehow Crick's watch does something to make him real and he can hear Emma's narration of her novel as she types it.  Crick starts to realize that all Emma's observations about him are accurate, so when she says that a certain event will set things in motion that Crick will …
review by . April 05, 2009
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is a tax man. As a matter of fact, he's the kind of serious tax man that the Beatles sang about:   "Now my advice for those who die, (Taxman!)   Declare the pennies on your eyes, (Taxman!)   `Cos I'm the Taxman."   2. Crick begins hearing a female voice in his head narrating his life, and starts to take it really seriously when she starts talking about impending doom. …
review by . February 07, 2009
Best-selling author, Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), is struggling with her newest novel. How will she kill the main character, Harold Crick? Little does she know, Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is real and she is writing his life story. Harold has been hearing her voice in his head as she narrates every moment of his mundane life as an IRS agent. Harold seeks out help from a professor of literature (Dustin Hoffman), and together they try to figure out who the voice is and what it means for Harold's …
review by . December 18, 2007
What an intriguing concept - an ordinary if somewhat introverted man who, unbeknownst to himself, is actually a character in a novel-in-progress, and a novelist whose character, unbeknownst to her, is real. Not an easy story to write or film. Nevertheless, both have been done, and done well. The screenplay makes the whole thing comprehensible, and the stellar acting makes it believable. It was hard to accept that this restrained actor is Will Ferrell. He DOES have talent, and a bit of that goofy …
review by . October 01, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
I was pleasantly surprised at this very well-done film with a highly likeable Will Ferrell as Harold Crick who is a character in a novel by Emma Thompson (I forgot her character's name) that Emma has scheduled to die. Somehow Crick's watch does something to make him real and he can hear Emma's narration of her novel as she types it. Crick starts to realize that all Emma's observations about him are accurate, so when she says that a certain event will set things in motion that Crick will die, he …
review by . September 07, 2007
Truly enjoyable movie. Thompson creates yet another memorable character. She truly excells at portraying cynical characters. Gyllenhaal's character, although not as memorable, was well portrayed. Huffman was excellent as well. And Ferrell, well, it was good. His expressions' portraying a lost sad man living a completely uneventul life won me over. The movie, as opposed to its characters, refused to fall into cynicism. It is intersting to note that the most cynic of the characters goes outside of …
review by . August 22, 2007
I have a hobby as a writer. I've actually had some of my work published. I've done some pretty awful, horrible things to some of my characters. I've killed them, maimed them, subjected them to abuse parents, drugs, fear, danger and death. All in the name of good writing and conflict!    So you'll understand that the idea of ever meeting some of my characters, especially, say, in a dark alleyway, is something that fills me with some sense of trepidation.    This …
review by . July 05, 2007
You have to love a movie that starts with a   fabulous premise. In this case, the life of   hyperbollically drawn tax auditor is mysteriously   linked with the fate of a character in a   stutteringly produced work of fiction. So far, so good.    We bop back and forth between the accountant   (and his predictable love story) and the tortured,   blocked author. The resolution is not particularly   courageous, …
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Stranger than Fiction
Theatrical film poster Directed by Marc Forster Produced by Lindsay Doran Written by Zach Helm Starring Will Ferrell
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Dustin Hoffman
Emma Thompson
Queen Latifah
Tony Hale Music by Britt Daniel
Brian Reitzell Cinematography Roberto Schaefer Editing by Matt Chesse Distributed by Columbia Pictures Release date(s) November 10, 2006 Running time 113 min. Language English Budget $30 million Gross revenue $40,660,952

Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 American comedy drama film. The film is directed by Marc Forster, written by Zach Helm, and stars Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Emma Thompson. Columbia Pictures distributed the film.[1]

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[edit] Plot

Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an auditor for the Internal Revenue Service, living his entire life based on the timing of his wristwatch. He is given the job to audit an intentionally tax-delinquent baker, Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) to whom he is awkwardly attracted. On the same day, he begins hearing the voice of a woman that is omnisciently narrating the events in his life, but he is unable to communicate with the voice. On his way home, Harold's watch stops working and he resets it using the time given by a bystander; the voice narrates "little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his ...

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