Oct 8, 2007

[Movies] Stranger Than Fiction

Stranger Than FictionBased on the recommendation of a close friend, I had picked up an Asian copy of Stranger Than Fiction on DVD. I'm hardly a Will Ferrell fan - no, I will probably never willingly see Blades of Glory - but I do love Maggie Gyllenhaal, so I went with it. It remained a part of the collection for the longest time and finally this week I sat down to watch it with my partner.

Boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Stranger Than Fiction is the kind of movie that makes me want to write since it feels like a very well-crafted book. Yet at the same time, I know that this movie if presented to me as a book would not have had the same impact. I guess that moment when Harold Crick (Ferrell) starts hearing the voice of the Narrator is just precisely and something that you can only truly execute on the silver screen.

Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The movie is generally about a man named Harold Crick who suddenly starts hearing a voice narrating his life. It appears that he's become the character in a book and whether he is a fictional character made real or a real person made into the object of a work of fiction is anyone's guess. While normally this is the sort of thing that would convince you that you're going mad, but when the voice lets slip the fact that Harold is bound to die (imminently no less), then it becomes hard-pressed to figure all this out and try and prevent his end.

I must admit that my appreciation for this movie may largely be personal - I wrote about it over on LiveJournal to keep those sentiments separate from this review. Still, there's a lot to be said about the movie in positive terms.

The manner in which they chose to demonstrate Harold's idiosyncrasies in terms of timing everything, counting things and measuring the pace of his strides was brilliant, again a merging of two different visual worlds - one being books and the other being movies.

What draws me most is the complexity of the conflicts of the story. There's Harold first understanding if there really is a voice if he's mad. There's the Author (Emma Thompson struggling with writer's block and how to kill her protagonist. There's Harold and his unusual relationship with Ana Pascal (Gyllenhaal). Towards the ends things get even more complex when Harold eventually meets the author and their respective interests come into play.

Stranger Than Fiction, despite the presence of Ferrell, is a rather smart film presented in a highly enjoyable fashion. While I'm sure that this won't necessarily be everyone's kind of movie, it's still a pretty good film to see with some of your smarter friends.

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