Since the start of the school year is coming up, I decided to watch a film that was thoughtful, leaving me with Will Ferrell's greatest movie, Stranger than Fiction. I know this is a pretty bold statement, as for Elf fans are probably going to want to burn me at stake, but after seeing truly dumb flicks such as Semi-Pro and Stepbrothers, I firmly acknowledge this film to be Ferrell’s greatest. While it isn’t his funniest, it is Ferrell’s most intelligent and thought provoking film out their. (Sorry Elf fans, it’s just that Elf wasn’t thought provoking at all.)
Released in 2006, Stranger than Fiction follows the story of Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), an IRS auditor who hates his job, deals with everyone hating him (because he is an IRS Auditor) and lives a VERY routine lifestyle. All of this changes when during a seemingly normal day, Harold hears a voice! A voice that not only appears out of nowhere, but seems to accurately narrate his everyday life. At first he thinks he’s crazy, but then he starts to believe that maybe he is part of a story. Unfortunately, the voice says that the end of the story will be his imminent death. This causes him to freak out and eventually seek help from Professor Jules Hilbert(Dustin Hoffman) who’s knowledge of literature is put to use to stop Harold’s death and figure out what type of story he is in. Meanwhile, writer Karen Eifel (Emma Thompson) is trying to figure out how to kill off Harold Crick, hero in her new book, Death and Taxes.
The performance Dustin Hoffman is solid, but Will Ferrell does a surprisingly good job as the guy who knows of his imminent death and decides to finally live the life he always dreamed. It does make you wonder why he has been wasting his time with Semi-Pro and Stepbrothers. Dustin Hoffman’s character is unremarkable, except for the fact that he is great with literature. Regardless, Dustin Hoffman does a good job with the unremarkable character he has been given. The performance that really surprised the heck out me, has definitely got to be Emma Thompson as the writer/narrator of Harold’s life. She makes killing off character seem like a chore, as for her character firmly believes that a death of a certain character must have meaning and beauty.Emma Thompson is so good at this performance, as for she captures the insanity the struggling writer goes through to conquer writer’s block and finally kill off Harold Crick.
What makes Stranger than Fiction so interesting, is that Marc Forster seems to make the film go at a slow pace, but explains everything in such good detail. Examples of this include when the narrator explains: the amount of brush strokes that Harold does while brushing his teeth, the emotional situations he goes through during life, even what it sounds like when filing papers. It’s almost like the world of Stranger than Fiction is just brimming with crucial detail, making this film feel like an actual novel.
Stranger Than Fiction is also very thought provoking, as for it just makes you want to think what you would do in Harold’s situation. It also provokes thought in the different types of literature, and questions the killing of the protagonist in literature. Whether you are interested in literature or not, Stranger than Fiction is the intelligent Will Ferrell film that I have been searching for. Call me crazy, but I actually like Will Ferrell when he is not an idiot, and actually an intelligent man with values. Thank you for proving that you are more than that hick from Talladega Nights Ferrell!