Feb 4, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction

I had high hopes of enjoying Stranger Than Fiction. Because of these hopes I probably felt a bit of a let down after viewing the film. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it but it just didn't hit the heights I was hoping for. My expectations were high for a couple of reasons. One was the director Marc Foster, whose first two films, "Monster's Ball" and "Finding Neverland" I thoroughly enjoyed. Secondly I guess I hoped for some sort of existential comedy like the masterpiece "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", you know famous Comedian plays dramatic and wins acclaim. Now I realise that although I don't find Jim Carrey funny I think he is a better actor then Will Ferrell. Funnily enough I think Will Ferrell is funny, Saturday Night Live that is, his movies stink, but although he is adequate in this movie I don't think he has the acting chops to be a major dramatic actor. Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a button downed IRS agent who has no life other then the routine of his humdrum work. One day he starts hearing a voice (Emma Thompson) narrating his every move. It starts to send him crazy, but when she says "imminent death" he understandably starts to unravel totally. Two major characters then enter his life, a baker (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who he is sent to audit but instead falls in love with and a literary professor (Dustin Hoffman) who tries to find the writer narrating his life. Emma Thompson is later revealed as Karen Eiffel, the author supposedly mapping out his life. Although it sounds confusing, it plays fairly straight and I think that is the weakness. There are few moments of magic, rather just spots of sweetness and the comedy doesn't always sparkle. In the end the film reveals itself as a slightly above average tale of 'what if?'. What if you thought you had a limited amount of time on Earth, what would you do? As said I thought Ferrell was adequate but not great and Emma Thompson I just find to be an annoying presence on screen. However Gyllenhaal and Hoffman shine as they normally do and bring their great acting qualities to the film. So I think this is a worth film seeing and probably better then most of the dross produced in Hollywood, just not a film that hits great heights.

Also, as you might be aware the music for the film was written by Spoon's Britt Daniel and he has done a fine job. I counted 5 previously released Spoon songs during the film including "The Way We Get By" and "Small Stakes", although it was only the music on display, with the vocals removed. A classic song featured that I love is "That's Entertainment" by The Jam. Also stay for the credits because you will hear "The Book I Write", a new Spoon tune.
Listen to the soundtrack here.


  • At February 05, 2007 , Blogger geoff said...

    I think the biggest let down were some of the casting choices. There was just no chemistry between Will and Maggie, though Dustin Hoffman was fantastic as per usual.

    Other than that, I thought it was great without it reaching the dizzy heights of a "Eternal Sunshine" or a "I heart huckabees". It was more like a watered-down Fight Club..


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