Tuesday, February 20, 2007

stranger than fiction

Stranger Than Fiction (Marc Forster, 2006) - 9/10

"Who just said that I was counting brush strokes?"

Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), an IRS agent lives his life counting. From counting brush strokes, to counting his steps, Harold Crick lives a routine life. Until one morning he begins to hear a woman's voice narrating his life. That voice is Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson), an author who has written a number of tragedies that end in her characters death. Her latest novel happens to involve the story of Harold Crick. Of course like all her stories, she must find a way to kill off Harold Crick. With the help of her assistant, Penny Escher (Queen Latifah), they go to unordinary settings for ideas.

Harold Crick seeks the help a literary professor, Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), in determining if his life is written as a comedy or tragedy. Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is Harold's love interest, and a baker with her own shop. She despises Harold, learning Harold is assigned to audit her taxes. As days go by, they grow fond of each other. And as days go by, Harold must conform to his destined death.

Great performances all around, from the supporting roles of Dustin Hoffman and Maggie Gyllenhaal (whose character brightens up the screen). The leading performance from Emma Thompson, who portrays a bogged down author searching for the perfect ending. She does this with conviction, from her worn down facial expressions and moody personality. And Will Ferrell, playing opposite his usual frantic and outburst roles. A simmered down (although he kinda goes crazy in one scene, for good reason) Will Ferrell displaying emotion. We feel what it is to live the life of Harold, and we get sucked into his world, and we start thinking how we live our lives. Do we want to live in a comedy or tragedy, or is it not in our control? A well crafted film providing subtle humour an some great shots. I like the minimalistic visuals in some scenes, almost in comparison to Harold's minimalistic world.

No comments: