06 May 2008

Stranger Than Fiction (PG13)

What if you heard someone narrating your life, but no one else could? And, what if that voice spoke of your imminent doom? What would you do? That’s the subject of the existential comedy, Stranger Than Fiction.

Will Ferrell stars as Harold Crick, an IRS auditor whose life is pure routine: 36 strokes per tooth during the morning, the same amount minutes late for the bus on the way to work, and the same standard operating procedure throughout the work day. In essence, Harold’s life is already written for him. It isn’t until his watch goes haywire at the bus stop that he realizes his life is not his own. His life is controlled by the narrator in his mind. Or is it?

After consulting Literature Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), Harold discovers that he’s not exactly nuts. The voice he’s hearing is actually the voice of Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), an author notorious for killing off her main characters in unusual ways. Everything she writes, he does. Luckily for Harold, she’s suffering writer’s block. Following Prof. Hilbert’s advice, Harold tries to turn his story from the tragedy Karen’s writing to a comedy by pursuing his love interest Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a radical anarchist type he’s auditing. But can Harold rewrite his own story? And if he can’t, will he be able to reach the elusive author and convince her not to kill him?

This story is highly worth the watch, and should delight your internal freewill vs. predetermined conflict. Are our lives already written by the stars, as Octavio Paz puts it? Or, can we shape our own destinies?

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