Stranger Than Fiction
Out Now On-Demand
Karen Effiel (Emma Thompson) is an author writing her latest novel about a sad, silly man named Harold Crick. What she doesn't know is that her fictionalised character is real. The real Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an IRS agent who one day begins hearing Karen's voice, narrating his life. This distracting development creates havoc for Harold, unable to concentrate with all that talking, and worried for his state of mind - given no one else can hear the voice. It's all relatively harmless though, untill the voices announces that Harold will very soon die.
Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: M contains low level offensive language
Harold Crick. He’s a tax auditor, and leads a very dull, lonely and neurotic life - played by Will Ferrell with surprising restraint. I would’ve thought a deadpan performance would’ve left me wanting more from such a ridiculously funny man, but he’s a damn decent actor and is brilliant in this. Crick wakes one morning with a British woman narrating his life. Not talking to him, but about him. Like when Harold is talking to the resource management man / therapist at work he hears, “Why was Harold Crick talking to this man? This man was an idiot.” As you can imagine, that makes it difficult to concentrate at a task at hand, and to converse. His workmates think he’s losing it.
It’s all relatively harmless though, until one day at the bus stop the narrator announces: “Little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.” Crick begins to panic, and tries to find the meaning behind all this silliness. His journey of self discovery begins, with help from a professor in literature (Hoffman, still great but looking a tad tired), and Crick learns to live each moment to the fullest, knowing very well that he’ll soon be dead.
Crick’s story is paralleled by the author Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson, good if a bit forced) who’s struggling to finish her latest novel about a character named Harold Crick. In effect, she is unknowingly controlling Crick’s life. The idea sounds daft, and it is, but they pull it off. Annoyingly, the film mixes some hilarious, clever moments with unnecessary clichés and cheesy drama. Interesting ideas with standard ideas. But by and by, it’s a sweet, smart wee movie that’s better than most and keeps you guessing to the end. [By Ed]
Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)
Empire Magazine [UK]
The Guardian [UK]
The Hollywood Reporter
This was the biggest surprise so far this year - a very watchable and sweet film. Recommended.
Better than expected
Given the cast I had hoped for more...The voice over reminded me too much of TV'S Desperate Housewives, and th e connection between charactersa little disjointed. What were we to make of Al Pacino's one man attempt to drink all the coffee in the world ?However, Iwouldn'twrite it off. Go see it, make of it what you can.