A Review: Stranger than Fiction (there may be spoilers)

During my brief rendevous into the world of Netflix, I decided to finally watch a movie that I have neglected for the past four years despite wanting to see it when it first came out. Stranger than Fiction is one of those movies that flies under the radar for most people but not because of mediocreness but because of a lack of good marketing. Finally watching it three weeks ago, I’m going to try my best to recall up my feelings on the movie.

First off, thei movies is seriously needs more love from film aficionados(should write a list about that). It’s heartwarming withouth being oversentimental, dramatic without contrived drama, and thought-provoking without the constant monologueing. Though the synopsis of this film is Harold Crick trying to find out who the narrator inside his head, to me the film is a deconstruction of literary tropes and archetypes with the big question of using a main character’s death as an ending. The film starts with the narration of Harold(Will Ferrell) as he goes about his dull day as an auditor, perfectly accented by the neutral tone colors and minimalistic look of his room of squares and perfect symmetry. When he hears the narrator, the author Karen Eiffel(Emma Thompson), state that he would die, this is when our film kicks off with Harold meeting with a renowned professor(Dennis Hoffman) to figure out his story while simultaneously striking a relationship with a baker he’s trying to audit(Maggie Gyllenhaal).

Each actor does a great job in their role but props must begiven out to our two protagonists, Harold and Karen. Will Ferrell makes the subtle development of dull, office worker guy to someone willing to appreciate life and being an overall nice guy. The best scene is when he gives the manuscript back to Karen and accepts his fate to die in her novel because as he and the professor believe, would be a masterpiece. Thompson plays the cynical Karen with ease, showing a disdain towards her literary assistant(Queen Latifah) and a detached feeling towards literature as more of a science than an art. When she finally realizes Harold is a real man, Thompson shows her acting chops by realizing that death, even literary death may be taken too lightly among authors.

This is where the deconstruction part comes in, the idea of death. Like so many authors, Karen feels that she must kill the character to have meaning to her story and to make it a masterpiece. But as revealed later in the film we have to ask, does it always haveto end in death? Why is it that life isn’t considered as meaningful and does a main character’s death really make a story more poignant or simply depressing? And with those questions I say adieu and thanks for puttping up with my first attempt and writing a review.

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