Stranger than FictionDirector: Marc Forster, Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman
A socially isolated IRS agent whose every move is documented by a disembodied female voice discovers that his life is the subject of a book currently being written by a best-selling author, whose creative block has stunted her repeated efforts to kill him off, in a quirky fantasy comedy written by Hollywood hot property Zach Helm and directed by Finding Neverland's Marc Forester. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) lives a life of solitude. Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) can't seem to find a way to finish her latest book. Though Harold and Kay have never actually met, their fates are about to become intertwined in a most unusual manner. With her publishers growing increasingly impatient with her apparent inability to put the finishing touches on her latest novel, Kay is assigned a new assistant whose task it is to help provide the creative push needed to get her book finished and into the hands of her many eager fans. The subject of Kay's novel is a lonely and despairing IRS agent named Harold Crick, who believes that his life has lost any real meaning. As Kay continues to weave Harold's woeful tale without realizing that her protagonist is actually a living human being unable to concentrate on his life and career due to the constant interference of the narrator who inexplicably seems to anticipate his every move and read his every thought, her continued efforts to kill her perplexed subject finally provide him with the incentive needed to fully experience life by seeking out the source of the voice that plagues him. Penned by the screenwriter named by Variety magazine as one of the "Top Ten Writers to Watch" and who was also included in Esquire magazine's "Best and Brightest" list of 2004, Stranger Than Fiction features supporting performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Sony Pictures
- [Wide Screen]
- [Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
- Sales rank:
Cast & Crew
|Will Ferrell||Harold Crick|
|Maggie Gyllenhaal||Ana Pascal|
|Dustin Hoffman||Professor Jules Hilbert|
|Queen Latifah||Penny Escher|
|Emma Thompson||Karen 'Kay' Eiffel|
|Tom Hulce||Doctor Cayly|
|Linda Hunt||Doctor Mittag-Leffler|
|William Dick||IRS Co-Worker 1|
|Guy Massey||IRS Co-Worker 2|
|Martha Espinoza||IRS Co-Worker 3|
|T.J. Jagodowski||IRS Co-Worker 4|
|Peter Grosz||IRS Co-Worker 5|
|Ricky Adams||Young Boy|
|Christian Stolte||Young Boy's Father|
|Denise Hughes||Kronecker Bus Driver|
|Peggy Roeder||Polish Woman|
|Tonray Ho||IRS Co-Worker 6|
|Danny Rhodes||Bakery Employee 1|
|Helen Young||Bakery Customer 1|
|David Pompeii||Bakery Customer 2|
|Linara Washington||Bakery Employee 2|
|Larry Neumann||Homeless Man|
|John Mohrlein||Man With Hose|
|Kristin Chenoweth||Book Channel Host|
|Bradley Mott||Large Man on Bus|
|John Watson||TV Author|
|David Wiegers||Bakery Customer 3|
|Jarret Sleeper||Bakery Customer 4|
|Karen Lloyd||Customer With Tan|
|Keith Kupferer||Demolition Foreman|
|Danny McCarthy||Demoliton Crew|
|Tab Baker||Demolition Crew|
|Mark Buettner||Claw Operator|
|Christian Young||ER Doctor 1|
|Arraon Hixson||Young Male Patient|
|Bryan Kelly||ER Orderly|
|Whitney Sneed||ER Nurse 1|
|Ray Kurut||ER Doctor 2|
|Michael Cook||ER Doctor 3|
|Cheryl Lynn Bruce||Head ER Nurse|
|Chet Dubowski||Man in Tweed|
|Oran "Juice" Jones||Banneker Press Receptionist|
|Herb Lichtenstein||IRS Co-Worker 7|
|Stacey Jackson||IRS Co-Worker 8|
|Jordan Teplitz||Old Man on Phone|
|Ricardo Guiterrez||Bus Company Manager|
|James Mazza||Irritated Man on Bus|
|Oscar Roxas||Another Man on Bus|
|Nadiera Bost||Accident Witness|
|Sandra Marquez||Accident Witness|
|Lacy Coil||Accident Witness|
|Will Clinger||Accident Witness|
|Albert Samuels||Accident Witness|
|Frank Caeti||Accident Witness|
|Andrew Rothenberg||Doctor Mercator|
|Lucinda Kemp||Bus Operator|
|Donna Watkins||Bus Operator|
|Julien Heron||Animal Footage Voiceover|
|Bob Papenbrook||Animal Footage Voiceover|
|Mike McColl||Animal Footage Voiceover|
|Britt Daniel||Score Composer|
|Joe Drake||Executive Producer|
|Frank Fleming||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Edward Gutentag||Camera Operator|
|Kevin Tod Haug||Cinematographer|
|Lora Hirschberg||Sound Mixer|
|Craig Jackson||Art Director|
|Nathan Kahane||Executive Producer|
|Eric Kopeloff||Executive Producer|
|Michael Lerman||Asst. Director|
|Jim McConkey||Camera Operator|
|Scott Millan||Sound Mixer|
|Roger Neill||Score Composer|
|David Obermeyer||Sound Mixer|
|Paskal,Tenner & Rudnicke Casting, Inc.||Casting|
|Brian Reitzell||Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Geoffrey G. Rubay||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Kerry Sanders||Set Decoration/Design|
|Michael Semanick||Sound Mixer|
|Kevin Thompson||Production Designer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
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
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!
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
This movie is amazing. The plot is to die for (no pun intended) and the acting is great. I enjoyed it very much.
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!!!