Stranger than Fiction (2006)

stranger than fiction poster 2006 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Interesting story and good turn for Ferrell

Tries a bit too hard

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Stranger than Fiction

Studio:  Mandate Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  November 10, 2006

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


OCD…with words

Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is a man who feels like his life is out of his control…and it turns out it is.  Crick is the subject of a novel by famed author Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), but he’s also a real man.  As Crick moves through his life as written by Eiffel, Eiffel tries to get over her writer’s block with the help of literary problem solver Penny Escher (Queen Latifah).  Harold discovers his life is changing when he meets Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who he is auditing and falls in love.  All would be fine if Eiffel wasn’t getting over her writer’s block…and is intent on killing Crick.  Now, Harold and lit-major named Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) are in a race to save against time to stop and save Crick’s life but can a story be changed?


I just want to point out that you must be written because I’d never hook up with you…

Directed by Marc Forster, Stranger than Fiction is a drama comedy with a script by Zach Helm.  The film was well received by critics and both Helm and Ferrell were commended for the film.  Ferrell received a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Actor—Motion Picture or Comedy and Helm won the National Board of Review Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Stranger than Fiction is a fun film but at points it felt desperately clever.  Despite being original, I felt like I was watching Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  All three of those films took high concept stories and tied them with unusual actors.  Stranger than Fiction is the least favorite entry in these type of movies.


What if I give you like $50…would you not kill me?

The story of Stranger than Fiction really is quite good.  It is clever and odd (something that really ties the above mentioned films).  The idea that someone is being “written” by someone is odd, but the people in the film come to accept it pretty easily.  If someone came up and said they were being written by a famous author, no manner of parlor tricks could prove it to many…even meeting the author.

What is more interesting than the story is the basic idea and concept of “what is a story” and does a writer really control a story?  Here it is indicated that it is give and take.  Harold was “destine” to die…Eiffel said she had no choice and Harold and Jules decided it must be done.  Much like the idea that Harold is being written is accepted, this also is accepted without much debate.


Seriously, just kill him!

Ferrell does give a good turn in this film.  Much like Jim Carrey, Ferrell has a distinctive comedic acting style and appears to fight it in scenes.  His character is supposed to be very straight laced and cannot just “lose it” as he normally does in films for laughs…it is a battle but Ferrell for the most part wins it.

It doesn’t hurt that Ferrell is joined by a strong supporting cast.  Gyllenhaal is a bit much as the government hating Ana Pascal but still manages to be charming.  Emma Thompson and Queen Latifah work well together as the writer and her backer.  Hoffman brings a nice balance to Ferrell’s more crazed life, and Tony Hale is unfortunately underused and a bit unnecessary to the story.

Stranger than Fiction is a good looking movie with an interesting story.  It might try a bit too hard, but it still has a lot of heart and fun.  If you want to see a different Will Ferrell, it is worth checking out.  Like other comedians before him like Robin Williams and Jim Carrey, it is interesting to see him take on a more challenging role and it is a fun switch up.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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