Franklin Reviews: Stranger than Fiction

Directed by Marc Forster, Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 film starring Will Ferrell as the not-so-slightly OCD IRS agent Harold Crick. This movie was a huge surprise to come across on Netflix. Not only had I not heard of it (I like my comedy movies), but this turned out to very much outside of Ferrell’s wheelhouse. This movie is not really a comedy. Or rather, it is not solely a comedy, as compared to the rest of his filmography.

I’ll be brief with the general plot. The movie centers around the IRS agent Harold Crick, whose life is work. He is precise in everything he does, which makes him the average American’s worst nightmare. However, his precise and systematized world changes when he suddenly begins to hear a woman’s voice inside his head narrating everything he does. What’s worse, this same narrator predicts the tax man’s untimely demise. The plot then follows our main character as he tries to figure out a way to avoid said death, but at the same time, he begins to confront the fact that he has never really lived beyond his work.

The movie was a shock to the system when it came to Ferrell’s role. Once you see Stepbrothers, you can never get that image of Ferrell out of your head, so to see him play the straight man was odd but oddly refreshing. The movie’s plot overall centers around Crick’s desperate attempts to not die. Understandable. Most of us have this thing about dying. However, as the movie goes on, he realizes the fact that, untimely or not, we will all die. That it is how you act that counts. That, ultimately, you must face death with at least a little bit of courage. This he does as the movie closes, as not only does he face death courageously by going about his day, but ultimately acting courageously when saving another.

That, in my opinion, is the movie’s principal message. It’s not so much about accepting death placidly. But accepting it courageously. Oh, and yes, the narrator is a crazy British lady, do with that what you will. Overall, the movie has a few flaws. It moves a bit slow, and you will get some second-hand embarrassment from the guy who has voices in his head, but in the end, I think it’s a gem. Would recommend.


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