Recommended viewing – intriguing comedy. Harold Crick begins to hear a voice narrating his life. Is he in control of his life? Or is someone else deciding his fate?
In “Stranger than fiction” we follow Harold through his search to find the truth. The script and situation is witty, with its key actors grabbing the opportunity of the characters and filling them out to every inch. Amazingly, Will Ferrell, usually known for playing sleazy and over-the-top males, plays a very straight-faced strait-laced tax inspector, Maggie Gyllenhaal is his charming and intelligent love interest/tax-dodger, Dustin Hoffman is believable as the imperturbable literature expert and Emma Thompson is stunning as the conflicted writer.
The film keeps you guessing what will happen next – keeps you guessing until the very end. If you choose to look for meaning in the film, you can debate the questions about the meaning of life, is there such a thing as predestination, how far should rules regulate our lives and interpersonal interactions, are we real actors in our own lives or just puppets – is it all decided?
Equally, you can just watch the film as fun; because it is.
I watched the film because it was recommended by Emma Thompson herself – in an interview with Ali Plumb “Films which made me” (BBC Radio 1) to publicise her new film “Late Night” – he asked which of her films would she like people to see, which was lesser known. She recommended “Stranger than Fiction.” (Emma is a fairly good judge of scriptwriting and acting, as the only person who has won an Oscar for both)
Anyone who writes would probably find the author/narration to be an added joy – especially for any time they are paused by ‘writer’s block’ – but also because the writing in this script and the situations are very very good. For those who consider such things – a typewriter also plays a key role.
My Favourite scene
I loved the visual scene where the two main characters, who don’t quite know how to relate to each other, are sitting in the middle of a ‘bendy-bus’ – an extra long bus joined in the middle by a section which moves to accommodate going around corners or changing lanes. So, as this part of the bus moves side to side, in motion, you see one character moving across the frame in relation to the other. It’s a great example of showing visually what is going on psychologically with the characters.