Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than Fiction

(2007)

Karen Effiel (Emma Thompson) is an author writing her latest novel about a sad, silly man named Harold Crick. What she doesn't know is that her fictionalised character is real. The real Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an IRS agent who one day begins hearing Karen's voice, narrating his life. This distracting development creates havoc for Harold, unable to concentrate with all that talking, and worried for his state of mind - given no one else can hear the voice. It's all relatively harmless though, untill the voices announces that Harold will very soon die.

Flicks Review

I was pleasantly surprised with this film. It’s Charlie Kaufman-Lite. A Kaufman-esque film presented in such a way that’s digestible by my parents.

Harold Crick. He’s a tax auditor, and leads a very dull, lonely and neurotic life - played by Will Ferrell with surprising restraint. I would’ve thought a deadpan performance would’ve left me wanting more from such a ridiculously funny man, but he’s a damn decent actor and is brilliant in this. Crick wakes one morning with a British woman narrating his life. Not talking to him, but about him. Like when Harold is talking to the resource management man / therapist at work he hears, “Why was Harold Crick talking to this man? This man was an idiot.” As you can imagine, that makes it difficult to concentrate at a task at hand, and to converse. His workmates think he’s losing it.

It’s all relatively harmless though, until one day at the bus stop the narrator announces: “Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.” Crick begins to panic, and tries to find the meaning behind all this silliness. His journey of self discovery begins, with help from a professor in literature (Hoffman, still great but looking a tad tired), and Crick learns to live each moment to the fullest, knowing very well that he’ll soon be dead.

Crick’s story is paralleled by the author Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson, good if a bit forced) who’s struggling to finish her latest novel about a character named Harold Crick. In effect, she is unknowingly controlling Crick’s life. The idea sounds daft, and it is, but they pull it off. Annoyingly, the film mixes some hilarious, clever moments with unnecessary clichés and cheesy drama. Interesting ideas with standard ideas. But by and by, it’s a sweet, smart wee movie that’s better than most and keeps you guessing to the end. [By Ed]

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 5 ratings, 5 reviews
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Really entertaining piece of film. Will Ferrell is surprisingly brilliant in his dramatic lead role. It's an inspiring movie, definitely worth a movie ticket!


This was the biggest surprise so far this year - a very watchable and sweet film. Recommended.


It is better than you'd think, even the idea sounds silly but it really works. I've always liked Ferrel, here he is subdued but still great. As with Maggie G & Dustin Hoffman.

I agree with Francis, worth the ridiculous $15.


Given the cast I had hoped for more...The voice over reminded me too much of TV'S Desperate Housewives, and th e connection between charactersa little disjointed. What were we to make of Al Pacino's one man attempt to drink all the coffee in the world ?However, Iwouldn'twrite it off. Go see it, make of it what you can.


I went into this film a bit dubious, I didn't know much about it and sometimes found Woll Ferrell to be too OTT. However, I enjoyed this movie. Ferrell was not his usual self and managed to actually get me to hope for the best for his character.

Interesting story. Interesting twists. Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson give good performances. Maggie Gyllenhaal is awesome as per usual.

I enjoyed it and didn't mind paying the whopping $15 for it either which has got to be good.


The Press Reviews

72% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • BBC

    Instead of finishing with a bang it peters out, but this existential yarn is still fresh and funny enough to justify taking two hours out of your life... Full Review

  • "Stranger Than Fiction" is a meditation on life, art and romance, and on the kinds of responsibility we have. Such an uncommonly intelligent film does not often get made... Full Review

  • For all his storytelling dexterity, Helm can’t conclude his tale with the courage he has at the start, and the ending will more likely annoy than delight. But by this time, both Crick and the film itself have earned enough goodwill in the bank to mitigate against any gripes. If only all postmodernism was so endearing and entertaining... Full Review

  • Entertaining and accessible philosophical stroll with Will Ferrell putting in a surprisingly good dramatic performance... Full Review

  • Has some quirky points, but it's very sugary and sentimental, and feeble compared to the work of those who have done the same sort of thing better: Woody Allen or Charlie Kaufman... Full Review

  • In practice, "Fiction" isn't nearly that unusual. Less like "Adaptation" than a smarter version of "Click," the picture pleases while remaining unchallenging to a broad audience... Full Review

  • The oft-examined intersections of reality and fantasy get a thorough workout in "Stranger Than Fiction." Bound to be compared to the work of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who has set the standard for this sort of intricate cinematic mischief over the past several years...A good B.O. attraction with long-distance potential for smart-skewing audiences... Full Review

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