It has a strange name. It had a strange beginning. It has some strange scenes such as the meticulously counting-down of daily chores superimposed by fake, sci-fi and high tech graphics which looked equally mysterious and grey. It has some strange reminiscences of films like Gattaca or Minority Report.
Can a boring, middle aged geek whose life is intruded into by a narrative voice make a good storyline? This “hearing voices” expereience became so huanting that it eventually changed the life of this officer worker over the course of a few weeks. With the feel of a sci-fi movie, this actually evolved into a comedy-drama. Will Ferrel plays the arithematic and detail oriented IRS agent Harold Crick, who audited the tax return of Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the Bohemian Harvard Law drop-out and bakery shop owner. The strange voice following Harold led him eventually to Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), the knowledgeable literary expert at a local college. Slowly eliminating the probable culprits giving Harold the headaches, a dated television interview pointed Harold to Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), the more schizophenic author who also appears to be the voice of narration. Harold managed to catch up with Eiffel, who is in the midst of wrapping up her next novel with the Hero who would have been written off to a tragic ending. If my brief résumé has been confusing enough, you would definitely appreciate the quasi-clarity brought on by the director Marc Forster, based on the screenplay penned by Zach Helm.
Even when I was watching the film, the plot didn’t seem very clear nor logical. The beauty of this film was the ability of the director and the actors to hold my attention together and not dissipate until the intriguing finish, evening though conventional wisdom could point to flaws if one really wants to dig deep into cause and consequences. Apart from the sci-fi mentioned earlier, this project also shouted John Nash and A Beautiful Mind for the self-indulgence references. Even though three Hollywood flicks dotted this review, Stranger Than Fiction ended up a sleepy but pleasant delight as I saw it on latenight TV.