Thursday, November 23, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

Title: Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Dir: Marc Forster
Rating: **** out of 5 stars

In Stranger Than Fiction, a novelist (Emma Thompson) struggles to decide how she will kill the protagonist of her book. But unbeknownst to her, the character, named Harold Crick, is a real man (Will Ferrell). Furthermore, Harold can hear her narrations and has become aware of his impending doom. He seeks help from a literature professor (Dustin Hoffman) to find the author before it's too late. And in trying to prevent his death, Harold learns what it means to really live.

I know that sounds awfully cliche, but the film is actually quite original and fun. If you think the plot sounds like a poor-man's Charlie Kaufman script, you're right. But even a poor-man's Charlie Kaufman is a helluva lot better than most Hollywood screenplays. This is a whimsical black comedy with a clever story and some great performances, especially from Will Ferrell. He achieves a performance that is serious and believable without being depressing and dull. Thompson, Gyllenhaal, and Hoffman also turn in great performances (was there any doubt?).

I rated Fiction four stars because it is one of those good but ultimately forgettable films. I enjoyed watching the movie, but it didn't stick with me (these types of comedies rarely do). I wouldn't berate you for skipping this one, but I still recommend seeing it, especially if you're craving some light-hearted comedy with a brain.