Stranger Than Fiction
You know, I don't suppose you really know whenever you're going to taste something truly marvelous for the first time: whether it be some new cuisine you've never tried, a book you'd never read, or a movie you've never seen. Sometimes those marvelous tastes have hype behind it; but usually the best, most marvelous tastes are the hidden gems that you discover almost by accident. And so it was the latter with this film.
Given the truths I just highlighted, I struggle with the idea of endorsing this film. Because I know that my enjoyment was so satisfying that my praise will be so effusive to the point that it might spoil the experience for those of you who haven't seen it yet. But I can't help it. I enjoyed it so much.
I defer to Wikipedia for a brief story introduction:
Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is a dull auditor for the Internal Revenue Service who is awakened alone each morning by his wristwatch. He is a compulsive counter and an obsessive time-saver. One day, Harold begins to hear the voice of a woman who is omnisciently narrating his life.
Harold's relationships are almost entirely with numbers, and with his watch that helps him keep track of time (which, to him, is just a number). Until, upon beginning to hear the woman's narrative voice, he is sent upon a journey of existential discovery that ultimately enriches his life.
Because one of the main characters of the film is a writer, it gives the actual screenwriter a lot of liberties to play with. For one, the movie makes you toy with the idea back & forth of whether Harold Crick will end up living or will be forced to die. It is a fun trip, and unlike another movie I saw the other day, the ending was supremely satisfying in tidily tying up all of the loose ends.
(BTW, the other movie: No Country For Old Men. The ending ruins the whole experience. It was worse than The Sopranos. Seriously, it was that bad.)
There's really nothing to criticize with this film. The writing is dazzling. The acting is pitch perfect from every player. And the pacing is just right. There is a little pre-marital funny business that I obviously think could have been scripted in a more innocent way. But it also wasn't overwhelming.
I fear saying any more. I've said what I hope will wet your appetite. Get your wife to add it to the Netflix or Blockbuster queue. And I think you'll be glad you spent part of an evening watching this one. Five Stars.