Stranger than Fiction (2006)

Director: Marc Forster

Cast: Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Queen Latifah, Dustin Hoffman

Synopsis: Harold Crick is an IRS Tax auditor who lives a life of mathematical precision, and as such has no social contact beyond those at work.   Everything changes when he hears a voice in his head narrating his life.   This is alarming in it self, but becomes moreso when the voice predicts his imminent death.

A review by Film Nerd

Though this is a film starring Will Ferrell, this is not a Will Ferrell comedy.   Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a humble yet dull character, whose life is lived so precisely he counts the number of brushstrokes he uses every time he brushes his teeth.   When he starts hearing his actions, thoughts, and feelings being narrated by a female voice, however his alarm is played well, and the prediction of his death allows Ferrell to let loose.   Even so, this is a somewhat subdued performance for him, and it suits the character well. It is a character light years away from Ricky Bobby, Ron Burgandy, or Zoolander’s Mugatu, and it reveals a depth of talent that was not previously evident.

The support players are all very well fleshed out.   Thompson plays Karen Eiffel, the author who is writing about Harold Crick, unaware he is a real person and that she is unwittingly plotting his demise.   Gyllenhaal plays the love interest with the same chameleon ability she has exhibited in previous work, such as Donnie Darko, Secretary, and World Trade Center.   Dustin Hoffman’s work is a stand out though, as the English Literature professor who tries to assist Harold in averting disaster.   He is the character in the film that has the best insight into the characters and the events occurring in Harold’s life.

This film is a little gem that has an overall comic tone despite the serious matter that the film investigates.   It is a very original way to examine how one would react if they knew they only had a limited time to live.   If you are looking for a riotous laugh fest, this is not the film for you.   If you are happy for a quiet chuckle and a touching story, then this is a highly recommended film.   It stays with you long after the credits have finished rolling.

4.5 stars (out of a possible 5)

Stranger than Fiction on IMDB

Stranger than Fiction on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

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