Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Will Ferrell (Harold), Emma Thompson (Karen Eiffel), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Ana), Dustin Hoffman (Professor Hilbert)

Directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland)

From IMDB: "An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death."

I haven't laughed this much at a film in ages, and the change of pace came as a welcome relief to all the blood and angst I've been watching of late. Could I push any more cliches into that last sentence?

I wonder, however, if I would have found it as amusing if my life didn't center on writing, reading, and studying fiction. My biggest laughs came from literary references, particularly from Dustim Hoffman's fantastic, sage straight man quips. "Aren't you relieved to know that you're not a golem?"

Insert choking fits of laughter.

Emma Thompson, too, provided numerous laughs as the deranged and neurotic author with writer's block, particularly her comments about The Craft (of writing, not a coven witches). "Well, Penny, like anything worth writing, it came inexplicably and without method."

Snort. Cackle.

The entire film pokes fun at convention in a Tom Stoppard sort of way, particularly the literature world's obsession with morbid endings. The very idea that the professor, after having met and conversed with a real person, Harold, would advocate the man's death for the sake of a fictional masterpiece -- brilliant. The perspective is marvelously skewed, an absurdity of Ivory Tower pretension and self-importance.

The only problem I had -- and this is both minor AND highly superficial -- is that I do no and cannot find Will Ferrell attractive. Funny. Amusing. Sweet. But not shagworthy. So his wonderful lines to Maggie Gyllenhaal were just a waste! The comedy proved more important and more successful than the love affair. Still, like I said, this is only a minor detractor. And besides, when a Will Ferrell character gets together with an ├╝ber-sexy Maggie Gyllenhaal character, that's the definition of fiction.


Ann(ie) said...

When I get this DVD, I will watch it obsessively. I've watched it twice in theatres. I am SO in love with this movie. It's right up there with Groundhog Day and Return to Me for movies I can watch over and over without losing a scintilla of pleasure.


Tess said...

It's a fun movie, isn't it? I agree with you that Maggie G. was waaaaay more attractive than Will Ferrell.