Customer Reviews for

Stranger than Fiction

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
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5 Star

(24)

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Brilliant Script, Superb Direction, Best Ensemble Cast: Why no Oscars?

    STRANGER THAN FICTION is one of the more wise, conceptually stunning, finely executed original films to come to the screen in a long time. How this little gem of a film went unnoticed by the Academy is anyone's guess, but viewers' alert: spend an evening viewing this film and new standards for excellence will be set for you. Director Marc Forster ('Finding Neverland', 'Monster's Ball', 'Stay', 'Everything Put Together') is a director of vision, a man unafraid to tackle testy topics, and a genius at pacing a film with a keen collaborative eye with his cinematographer, his editor, his set designer, his casting director, and his actors. Taking the chance of working with first time writer Zach Helm (a gifted artist whose niche in the business is already secure with this first venture) and assembling a cast of some of our finest actors proves successful in every graphically odd twist and turn of this unusual, compelling and unclassifiable story. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell - finally given a role in which he can prove that he is an actor and not just a foolish pratfall comedian) is a boring, number obsessed IRS agent whose every moment of every day is timed to be exactly the same (with the important co-existence with his wrist watch!)...until one day he hears a voice narrating his life, the female voice of loopy and blocked writer Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) who is writing a story that has a 'Harold Crick' as her main character. Only our boring IRS agent can hear her voice: his loony office friend Dave (Tony Hale) empathizes but can do little else to help him. When the narrator begins to talk about ending 'Harold's' life, Harold freaks and seeks guidance from a literature professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman, in one of his most subtle and refined roles of his career) who knows Eiffel's work and aids Harold in understanding novels, be they comedy or tragedy. Harold also seeks the advice of psychiatrist Dr. Mittag-Leffler (the always superb Linda Hunt) who is of little help, and Dr. Cayly (Tom Hulce) who repairs all upsets with hugs. Meanwhile in his work of auditing citizens he encounters anti-government baker Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal, once again proving that she is one of the most formidable talents in film today), and a bizarre but tender attraction slowly ensues. And all this time novelist Kay Eiffel is struggling with how to 'kill Harold' so that she can complete her novel. Her publisher sends in 'assistant' Penny Escher (Queen Latifah) to ground her and guide her to her novel's completion by helping her observe hospital disasters, vantages, and steadying her grip on life. The manner in which the novel is finished which involves the ultimate fate of Harold and the changes the narration of the novel have had on his life makes up the resolution of the story. And a cleverly written conclusion it is. Zach Helm is obviously a brilliant, well-informed writer who knows how to balance comedy and tragedy, crises of life with the little things that count, and can mold conversations so subtle that they beg to be rewound to enjoy the words repeatedly. Forster wisely uses graphic superimpositions of numbers and graphs and lines to show us the inside of Harold's intriguing mind, all the while allowing us to draw close to the needy and tender aspect of this nerd of nerds, thus making the involvement with his narrator, his girlfriend Ana, and his doctors and professor wholly credible. Some people (this viewer being one) avoided this film in the theaters because of the fear that it may be just another Will Ferrell bit of foolishness: over the top slapstick physical comedy that grows stale after about five minutes. But Will Ferrell here opens an important new door for his career: he can act! The ensemble cast could not be improved upon and it is refreshing to see the widely disparate types of actors gathered here work as a cohesive and impeccable unit. Added to the DVD is about an hour's worth of featurettes that are, for onc

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    3 cheers for an Intelligent, creative, and interesting story that shouldn't be missed!

    It's apparent from the first few scenes that the plot/story is unique, creative, and intelligent. Writers, filmmakers, and creatives of all types will appreciate the smart plot. The entire cast is fantastic, but two performances deserve to be highlighted. Will Ferrell is dynamic and hits the ball out of the park with a wonderful performance that showcases his dramatic chops - his range is absolutely awesome. Emma Thompson delivers another standout performance that every writer can appreciate. She takes you on that emotional roller coaster of creativity that can mysteriously creep up on anyone involved in some aspect of the arts and does it brilliantly as only she can. The visual effects deserve to be mentioned as well because the graphics are integral to helping to drive the story and because they are absolutely phenomenal. This film provides entertainment and gives the viewer something to reflect upon. Kudos and hip hip hooray to a gem of a film that is pure joy!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    A different Will Ferrell

    In Stranger Than Fiction one encounters a completely different Will Farrell than the usual off-the-wall farcical comedian. Farrell's Harold Crick leads the mundane life of an IRS agent who meticulously calculates every aspect of his life from how many brush strokes he uses while brushing his teeth to how many steps it takes him to get from his apartment in unnamed downtown Chicago area to his nearby office. As Harold begins his daily routine one seemingly normal Wednesday morning, a voice begins narrating everything Harold does. As Harold searches for answers he encounters many unique characters, including a hilariously dry Dustin Hoffman who plays Jules Hilbert, a literature professor who tries to help Harold figure out if he is a character in a comedy or tragedy.
    Taking the professor's advice, Harold begins living his life with passion and starts doing things he has always wanted to do, like learning how to play the guitar. Along the way Harold takes a quite unexpected interest in one of his auditees, a free-spirited baker named Ana Pascal played by the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal, who helps Harold discover who he really is and why his life isn't so mundane after all.
    The author of Harold's story, unknown to Harold, is an acclaimed author named Karen Eiffel (played by Emma Thompson) who is notorious for killing off all of the main characters in her novels. Eiffel struggles to find a way to end her book and kill Harold, but finally she comes up with a solution. In the end both Eiffel and Harold Crick realize how beautiful life really is and that it is the small, seemingly unimportant things, that make life worth living.
    This surprisingly fresh and unique film is a thoughtful and light-hearted examination of living life the way it should be lived and enjoying every moment. The film is characterized by the splendid use of art and architecture in every scene which adds a nice visual bonus to an already well written script and talented cast. Director Mark Forster (Monster Ball, Finding Neverland) offers a truly unique tale that will elicit laughter and tug at your heartstrings with its believable characters and clever storyline.
    And when the movie is over the DVD still offers must see special features. With these features you can see the funny on-set moments with the always outrageous Will Farrell that will make you wet your pants. Not only does the DVD offer deleted and extended scenes, but also behind the scenes featurettes of how the movie was made and unique commentaries from the actors and the producers of the film. This feature allows the viewer to see the beautiful sets and backdrops used in downtown Chicago and the Mies van der Rohe architecture so unique to the landscape.
    The DVD allows the viewer the whole experience by offering high definition widescreen which makes the color of the unique backdrops a treat for the eyes and Dolby digital surround sound for the movie theatre sound experience.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    If you love books, you'll love this movie!

    Simply put: This movie is for booklovers.
    As I watched this movie, I found myself caring for the characters so much that I was on the edge of my seat to see what happens to them. I laughed, I cried, and everything in-between. This is a wonderful film with an interesting premise, great actors, and wonderful performances. I Loved It!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is my Favorite Movie

    The cast is great. Not to mention the creative and interesting plot. Will Ferrell is my hero. This may not be for everyone, but for anyone who can enjoy a creative and emotionally charged story, this one will not let down.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Hearing Voices In My Head...

    This movie is such an overlooked movie. The premise is very original and the movie itself is very engaging. The viewer ends up personally invested in Harold's well-being.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    whoa! this is good!

    I was super impressed with this. made me sad laugh and everything. the way the two charecters fall for eachother being so diferent was cool. this movie was good! GOOD!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    My thoughts on Stranger Than Fiction

    This movie would get confusing at times, but I actually liked it. One of the reasons why I liked it is probably because Will Ferrell was portraying a serious character. He wasn't supposed to be funny for once. And that showed me that he can be both types of actor. I honestly respect him more when he's playing a serious character. Out of the movies I've seen with him being funny and this one, this one is my favorite. It's because, with no due respect, when he tries to be funny, it sometimes isn't successful. It won't make me laugh. It's kind of like a "whatever" state of mind. I actually respect him more as a serious character. Like, Jim Carrey, that guys is HILARIOUS! That's his natural way of acting. That's who he is. It just comes right through him to be funny. When he plays a serious character, like in The Majestic, he succeeds tremendously. That isn't always the case with Will. Anyway, overall, I liked this movie, can't wait to see Will playing a serious character more often, and would recommend it to everyone to watch. :0)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great!! Great!!! Great!!!

    I loved this movie!! Some did not like this movie but before you decide Watch the movie for you self! I got lost in it like I was there while Watching!!! Great Actors !!! Made you feel like you knew them as friends!!! Great actors!!! Just a nice movie with a lot of substance. Will watch again soon!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not as good as I hoped

    I usually love comedies, but this one wasn't all that funny. Will Ferrell played a serious character, and maybe that was part of the problem. I kept thinking that the movie was bound to get better and that Ferrell's character would lighten up a little- I was disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Disappointment

    BIG DISAPPOINTMENT - considering the film stars Wil Ferrel and Dustin Hoffman. The plot revolves around a single IRS man who one days starts hearing a voice and realises she is an author who is writing a book which is actually his life, in all this he also falls for a chick he is doing a tax audit, but once he realises that the author is going to kill him off he goes about to try and stop it - no prizes for how it ends - the laughs are few and far between.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not what you expect from Ferrell

    This movie shows Will Ferrell in a light similar to the light that The Truman Show showed Jim Carrey. Here we have an actor known for silly (sometimes stupid) comedies giving an outstanding performance. Supporting cast Thompson, Hoffman, and Gyllenhaal are also excellent in this highly original film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What a great movie!

    I love this movie! I saw it twice when it was still in the theaters. I love the characters, especially Emma Thompson. I like the story, the plot, and the moral of the story. It's witty, sad, and it just gives you a good feelin' of happiness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    a reviewer

    will Ferrell is the funniest man alive, okay in Toronto City. All his movies are funny, really interesting and great to have watch while you have Thanskgiving. I'd love to make him more than one baby only-only if he wasn't married already with kids of eight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Honestly great...

    This movie is amazing. The plot is to die for (no pun intended) and the acting is great. I enjoyed it very much.

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    Posted November 25, 2009

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    Posted February 28, 2010

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    Posted November 3, 2008

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    Posted July 26, 2009

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