I used to go to the movies every week. Yes, every week. Of course, a lot of those films were at the $1.50 show and included such classics as Anaconda (“You can’t scream if you can’t breathe!”) and Con-Air, but I went. But as time went on, I lost the habit. Oh, sure I’d go for things like the release of one of the LOTR flicks. There was also that summer when my apartment was 95F at the best of times; my only criteria for choosing a film that summer was that it be held in an air-conditioned theatre and that they take one of my movie passes. But I’ve got A/C now and well, it’s not what I do anymore.
So you’ll imagine my shock that I’ve gone to the flicks twice in a row now. Stranger Than Fiction is a very interesting film. I suspect the reason it got made was that a)it stars Will Ferrell and b) it’s the cinematic descendant of Being John Malkovich. That is, that quirky little film paved the way for this one.
Harold Crick (Ferrell) leads a pretty colorless life and works for the IRS. He’s going about his number-obsessed way when one day he starts to hear Emma Thompson narrating his life. Turns out she’s a novelist whose protagonists always die. Harold, of course, would rather not die. Did she create him? Can she kill him for real with a mere click of the typewriter? How is this happening? What can he do to stop it? That’s really the story here.
Reader, I liked it. Interesting premise. The set design was genius. Intelligent performances from Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. And then there’s Will Ferrell. I’ve come to like Will Ferrell a lot. He’s pretty much been established as a comedic actor, but I think this may be his breakout role. Whether or not the public or the studio people will accept that he can do more than comedy is another story; he’s proved he’s capable of it here.
Go see it.