Stranger Than Fiction


Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Zach Helm
Released: 2006
Starring: Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson

I. Love. This. Movie.

I first watched this in Media Studies class to study the narrative structure, and ever since then I have been able to watch it numerous times and never get bored… I know the entire script almost off by heart now.

Stranger Than Fiction is about a man – Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) – who can hear a voice narrating every event in his life, but it becomes sinister when the narrator casually mentions his approaching death.

Narrator: Little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.

Harold Crick now has to try and find the author to get her to stop writing before she completely writes him out of existence.


I guess the first awesome thing about this film is the cast. Will Ferrell was never really an actor that I thought too much of until his versatility was shown in this comedy drama. He plays a very mundane and dry person, yet Ferrell’s subtle comedic value turns his character into a convincing yet entertaining person as he discovers his purpose in life is more than just being an IRS agent.


Emma Thompson shows her insane abilities as a struggling author, yet without becoming a drag. She makes her character, Kay, so comedic yet so believable – as with all of her characters that she has ever played. You totally understand where she’s coming from. She has a lot of great come backs with no hesitation or concern for other’s emotional feelings.

Penny: And I suppose you smoked all these cigarettes?
Kay: No, they came pre-smoked.
Penny: Yeah, they said you were funny.


I can’t go without mentioning Dustin Hoffman. His acting is SO accurate for his character – spot on! He acts as Harold’s mentor and does so in full confidence that Harold is telling him the truth, and takes it very seriously. Professor Hilbert has many little habits that I would expect to be accurate for his career and character, such as excessive coffee consumption and loud eating.

Harold: You have to understand that this isn’t a philosophy or a literary theory or a story to me. It’s my life.
Professor Jules Hilbert: Absolutely. So just go make it the one you’ve always wanted.

Maggie Gyllenhaal as Ana Pascal

My favourite character is the baker; Ana Pascal played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. She is a rebellious yet respectable woman who brings Harold to life. I wanted to own a cookie store after I watched Stranger Than Fiction. She’s just such a cool character with strong morals.

Ana: Mr. Crick, it was a really awful day. I know, I made sure of it. So pick up the cookie, dip it in the milk, and eat it.

This movie is not a light chick-flick at all (even though it has my favourite romance storyline of all time). It is about identity and real life – the characters are not stereotyped or perfect by any stretch.

It’s about feeling out of control of your life, but with determination, focus and the right people, you can change your life to make it what you want it to be. You only have your life’s outline written for you; but you can always change it if you really want to.

The music is amazing – it goes so well with every scene – and I am most definitely going to put this on my Christmas list… *Hint hint*. My favourite song is Whole Wide World by Wreckless Eric and Bottles and Bones by Califone.

The structure is perfect, and once it gets going you realise how emotionally attached to the characters you are. Because they have won you over with their subtle comedy, and lines that you will end up trying to find the perfect conversation to drop them into. My favourite line is by Ana: “You. Miscreant.”

I haven’t been able to drop that into a casual convo as of yet though.

If you enjoy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you are likely to enjoy this trippy story. However, it is a tragic comedy that everyone will enjoy.

Jodie’s rating: 9/10

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
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