MIDNIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Starring: Will Ferrel, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman
Director: Marc Forster
Runtime: 113 minutes
What do you do when your life is being narrated? Would you freak out, or would you try to find a connection? Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) does both, after the narrator drops the sentence “little did he know of his impending death”.
Harold, an IRS auditor (‘tax-man’) isn’t very fond of his life. He is lonely, stuck in a daily routine that would drive most people to suicide. Not Harold. He is the kind of man who endures, while not making any moves to try to change the dullness into something exciting. That’s why, when the narrator unknowingly tells him of his untimely death, he is both going to try to change the narrator’s mind and change the way he has been living.
Although the movie starts quite slowly, it picks up the pace. Once the narrator speaks her first few sentences, you can see the panic in Harold’s eyes. This leads to numerous, humorous situations while Harold is trying to get used to the constant narration. I can understand the annoyance, it is almost like hearing yourself talk, while talking. You stop mid-sentence.
Add in a romantic sub-plot involving Maggie Gyllenhaal, and you can understand why Harold doesn’t want to let go of his boring life. He finally has something to live for, only to have it taken away. This all leads to a gripping, emotional conclusion, of which I am not going to spoil much.
Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) is one of those directors who are not in the direct spotlight, but when you take a look at their resume, you are surprised why you don’t hear that much about him. On top of the aforementioned movies he directed, is also ‘The Kite Runner’, and he is also working on the new zombie-film starring Brad Pitt, called World War Z. This film, of which I admittedly hadn’t heard before stumbling upon a trailer, certainly isn’t any less than those films.
This is an excellent unisex movie, meaning that either sexes can watch this film without remorse. Or, you can watch it together. It isn’t your typical love story/tear-jerker, and Will Ferrel is able to keep it manly and humorous enough that even men don’t have to be ashamed to admit they’ve seen it.