Attributing significance to our lives is an important notion for many human beings. How significant are we in the greater scheme of things? Are we invisible, just another fly on the wall? Marc Forster’s new film, “Stranger Than Fiction”, poignantly asserts that such is not the case. And he does so with the impeding death of Harold Crick.
Crick (Will Ferrell) is an IRS agent. His life is filled with mundane, ordered structure. He is a walking instrument, to be more precise. That is, until his life is interrupted by a mysterious ‘voice,’ which begins to narrate his daily business. The ‘voice’ actually belongs to author Kay Eiffel (the wonderful Emma Thompson), but as far as Crick knows, he might as well be schizophrenic.
At first, Crick tries to ignore the ‘voice,’ simply writing it off as a nuisance. That is, until it reveals that in the near future, he will die. As one can imagine, this news isn’t exactly pleasing for Crick to hear. Soon, he’s off to find out exactly what this ‘voice’ is and why it wants him dead. What results is a perfectly executed and insightful series of events that add meaning and warmth to what it means to be alive.
“Stranger Than Fiction” is one of the more recent films that actually represent a full hand of talent. Everything from the writing (from an extremely talented newcomer, Zack Helm) to the direction (the always-impeccable Marc Forster) to the acting is spot-on and even inspiring. There are many opportunities for the film to veer off course or become sloppy, but it never does. It is endlessly fresh, engaging, witty and perfect. If nothing else, it will hopefully garner itself a couple Oscar Nominations, especially for Ferrell, who gives the best performance of his career thus far.
In a year that is getting progressively better as it comes to an end, “Stranger Than Fiction” is one more film you should add to your ‘must-see’ list. When it comes to the best films of any year, there is no question that November and December are the months that offer the bulk of them. Just like “Babel”, “Stranger Than Fiction” happens to be another example of why people go to the movies.
Danny Gordon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.