Stranger Than Fiction

Year: 2006
Directed By: Marc Forster
Written By: Zach Helm

RYAN’S REVIEW

I don’t really know what to expect from this one. Sometimes I see a movie that leaves an impression on me and I add it to the collection immediately. Occasionally those movies go unwatched after hitting the shelf and that’s the case with this one. I saw it once at my brothers house because it was part of his collection. I think I was really caught off guard by the performance of Will Ferrell. I was not a fan and thought most of what he did was stupid. Seeing him in a serious movie for the first time left the impression that got it added to the collective. Now, I’m sitting down to watch it for the first time in maybe six or seven years, let’s see if that impression was correct or not.

I’m immediately sucked in with this story about Harold and his watch. It’s interesting and gets more so when Harold begins to hear the narration of his life. I was caught off guard by the idea of taking Will Ferrell seriously. I don’t dislike him, on the contrary I think he is quite talented, but some people don’t belong on the center stage. Some people are better as an addition but suffer when they’re the star. I think Ferrell was hilarious in films like Old School and Zoolander but when given the lead in movies like Talladega Nights or Step Brothers he resorts to a weak and ridiculous type of comedy. Here on the other hand he is playing a role where he isn’t trying too hard to be funny because he’s not supposed to be funny at all.

Emma Thompson has such a great reading voice. I can’t say I really see a lot of her work as she specializes in a different type of film but she really does have a great voice. She recently was the voice of Mrs. Potts in Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast. Don’t know if it was actually her singing the big numbers but if it was it only proves my point. Regardless, her voice makes her a perfect narrator for this film. Her imagination’s efforts to figure out death make for some scenes that really catch you off guard and keep the movie interesting.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is specifically cute in this movie. She plays the sassy tattooed girl that gets the attention and admiration of the uptight IRS agent. You kind of feel sorry for him because she is so mean to him but then you remember he’s an IRS auditor. Nobody is thrilled to see those guys, gotta be hard to find love on the job. I like when she finally comes around because it’s a sweet thing between her and Harold.

“Don’t move the plot and see if the plot moves you.” Dustin Hoffman’s words can serve as good advice to all of us now and again. We are all part of a story after all, the story of life. Sometimes in life you move the plot and sometimes the plot moves you. As Harold finds out to his apartment’s woe. He isn’t exactly sure it’s plot, but everything in life is isn’t it? This movie is about life, in a nutshell. I find that life is easier when you try to avoid the plot, but inevitably it will find you.

Harold tries to cling to life while the narrator tries to figure out how to kill  him. Such an interesting dynamic. He has found love and has a whole new reason to live. I love these scenes of Will Ferrell running as he tries desperately to reach the author of his life. He should run more often, he could give Tom Cruise a run for his money. It’s so wild and out of the box for them to speak on the phone. It only gets better when they meet in person.

I can’t say enough about the acting of Will Ferrell in this movie. This movie was over ten years ago and I don’t understand why he hasn’t exercised this talent more. In this movie he goes toe to toe with the acting legend Dustin Hoffman and he holds his own. When Hoffman tells him to accept his fate it’s a magnificent scene. He understands and he gets it. The fact that his character is willing to make the sacrifice makes him all the more lovable.

This is an amazing movie. I feel like I’d need to watch it five times at least to really write about it. It says so much about life and fate and creativity. I love so much about this movie and I love that Harold survives in the end.

The watch is what keeps him alive, that’s beautiful. That’s a fantastic ending and on par with the author’s usual death ending. This is a wonderful movie and I just love it. The love story that lives on with Harold’s life brings tears to my eyes. Didn’t see that coming but it makes me appreciate this movie that much more.

This is a wonderful movie that can hit you in the heart and make you appreciate the creativity of writers. It’s a thoughtfully crafted story that leaves an impression. Will Ferrell should do more movie like this because he really has a talent for it. I think this movie is not only worth your time but worth plenty of your time. This movie is worth multiple views.

NEXT MOVIE: Street Kings (2008)

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