User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 216 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 7 out of 216
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  1. WayneH.
    Mar 27, 2007
    10
    I think this is a much better movie than the critics are rating and my 3 friends who watched it at my behest all agreed that it is one of the best movies we've ever seen. It is a "quiet", and utterly compelling movie. The cast is superb (Will Farrell is perfect in the role and his reaction in the scene where the professor (Dustin Hoffman) tells him that the ending where he dies will I think this is a much better movie than the critics are rating and my 3 friends who watched it at my behest all agreed that it is one of the best movies we've ever seen. It is a "quiet", and utterly compelling movie. The cast is superb (Will Farrell is perfect in the role and his reaction in the scene where the professor (Dustin Hoffman) tells him that the ending where he dies will make the novel truly great, therefore he really should allow the author to "kill" him is one of the best pieces of acting that I've ever seen. Emma Thompson gives her "usual" extraordinary performance. An intelligent, witty script provides the basis for all. Expand
  2. MiguelD.
    May 17, 2008
    8
    Incredibly smart and touching. Oddly reminiscent mix of Punch Drunk Love and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but completely novel in it's own delivery. Will make you feel intelligently warm inside.
  3. ToddD.
    Nov 8, 2006
    8
    I just saw a screening of Stranger Than Fiction last night, and it was a really enjoyable movie. If I was reviewing it for a magazine, I'd probably give it a B+. Will Ferrell is the heart of the movie, and Dustin Hoffman was a strong supporting male character. I was pleasantly surprised at the strong supporting roles for women in this movie. Emma Thompson was wonderfully neurotic, I just saw a screening of Stranger Than Fiction last night, and it was a really enjoyable movie. If I was reviewing it for a magazine, I'd probably give it a B+. Will Ferrell is the heart of the movie, and Dustin Hoffman was a strong supporting male character. I was pleasantly surprised at the strong supporting roles for women in this movie. Emma Thompson was wonderfully neurotic, and Maggie Gyllenhall was just completely inhabiting her character. I've had the good fortune to see her speak in person, and she's just as genuine as she appears in this film. When awards season comes around, I wouldn't be surprised to see some supporting actor nominations for this film. The only exception being Queen Latifah, who was unfortunately wasted in a role that was just way too toned down for her personality. As for the movie itself, it was a real gem, a crowd pleaser without talking down to its audience. I've been disappointed by so many movies this year, but this one really worked on the emotional and mental levels. Expand
  4. BillyS.
    Nov 10, 2006
    7
    I went into Stranger Than Fiction expecting to see a Best Picture nominee but it turns out to be only a Top 10 film instead.A great story that positively soars when Emma Thompson is narrating the action but coasts on auto-pilot when she's not. The cast is excellent, it's so great to see Miss Thompson back in a smart adult role to show everyone theres more than Helen Mirren and I went into Stranger Than Fiction expecting to see a Best Picture nominee but it turns out to be only a Top 10 film instead.A great story that positively soars when Emma Thompson is narrating the action but coasts on auto-pilot when she's not. The cast is excellent, it's so great to see Miss Thompson back in a smart adult role to show everyone theres more than Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet when it comes to English actresses. Will Ferrell, "little did he know", has made his best screen performance yet, similar to Jim Carrey in The Truman Show. And then there's Dustin Hoffman, whose name on the credits is reason enough to go see a movie, and once again is perfect here, as is Maggie Gyllenhaal. Marc Forster has again teamed with Roberto Schaffer for yet another visually stunning film that looks like a big budget f/x blockbuster but remains a simple little "what if" movie, a little to simple for Best Picture consideration but save a space on your Top 10 list for it otherwise. Expand
  5. JamesH.
    Nov 11, 2006
    9
    Amazing writing, very well acted. The 67 is criminal and critics should be ashamed. Will Farrell could have easily over acted in this role and killed the spirit of the film but instead he put in his best performance to date.
  6. JamesB.
    Nov 11, 2006
    9
    One of the best of 2006. Forget everything you've ever thought about Will Ferrell. This is an entirely different actor and a different role. He was great...and the rest of the cast was a pleasant surprise. Far surpassed expectations.
  7. SamF.
    Nov 13, 2006
    10
    Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal have surprisingly warm, glowey electricity between them in this film. However, their adorable relationship ends up taking a back seat to their otherwise fantastic performances, a classic Dustin Hoffman and a refreshing comedic Emma Thompson performance, and greatest of all, the most unique, clever storyline since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  8. PaulB.
    Nov 13, 2006
    8
    I enjoyed this movie. It was well acted. Farrell, Thompson and Hoffman bring subtle performances which give the story a grounded feeling, yet carries a plot that teases us with metaphysical questions.
  9. John
    Nov 16, 2006
    10
    This movie was great-- just a lot of fun and really entertaining. Don't listen to these pretentious snobs who give it bad reviews. Really, what do they know?
  10. JeffT
    Nov 22, 2006
    9
    The necessity when analyzing this film is to do so from the proper reference frame. Despite what others critics have said the substance in 'Stranger Than Fiction" has nothing to do with the gimmick of hearing a voice. Sure that's the context by which the story is told, but it's just a pretext. Dustin Hoffman
  11. KarlP
    Nov 23, 2006
    10
    Even knowing that it was not to be a traditional "Will Ferrell" comedy did not prepare me for the touching and well-done Stranger than Fiction. Truly the best it could have been.
  12. ChadS.
    Nov 27, 2006
    8
    "Stranger than Fiction" is a movie that should be seen twice. When I watch it again, I'm going to pay very close attention to what happens after that metal ball crashes through Harold Click's apartment. This seemingly cinematic non-sequitir acts as a metaphor for deconstruction (in literary theory, this is a post-structuralist term), which signifies to me, that the film might be "Stranger than Fiction" is a movie that should be seen twice. When I watch it again, I'm going to pay very close attention to what happens after that metal ball crashes through Harold Click's apartment. This seemingly cinematic non-sequitir acts as a metaphor for deconstruction (in literary theory, this is a post-structuralist term), which signifies to me, that the film might be harboring a secret war between the structuralists (binary oppositions is one of their modes of inquiry; in the film, it's represented by comedy/tragedy) and Roland Barthes (a post-structuralist) fans (I think he once proclaimed that there is no author). On a second viewing, I hope that the film undergoes a transformation from a structuralist to a post-structuralist school of thought after that demolition scene. If this film was written by Charlie Kaufman, it would. The metafiction in "Stranger than Fiction" might not be as clever as "Adaptation"(or even Neil LaBute's underappreciated "Nurse Betty"), but this imitative screenplay of a superior film is better than, say, "EdTV", which was a byproduct of "The Truman Show". For all the literary pyrotechnics (some are airborne, some are duds) that "Stranger than Fiction" attempts, it's the performances by Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal that carries the film. Their romantic chemistry is so strong, "Stranger than Fiction", arguably, doesn't really need all that extraneous allusions to comparative literature. This is Will Ferrell's "Punchdrunk Love". He is a credible male dramatic lead. Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, finds a new way to be Meg Ryan, which is to say, she's a sweetheart without having to sacrifice her innate intelligence and toughness to be lovable. Expand
  13. RuthS.
    Nov 29, 2006
    10
    I loved this movie! It is funny, and sweet, and touching without being sappy. I thought Will Ferrell gave a wonderfully subtle performance as a guy gradually waking up to what life is really about. I liked everybody else in the film too, wonderful actors giving wonderful performances. I think this film may actually have been a little too subtle for many people and that this is the reason I loved this movie! It is funny, and sweet, and touching without being sappy. I thought Will Ferrell gave a wonderfully subtle performance as a guy gradually waking up to what life is really about. I liked everybody else in the film too, wonderful actors giving wonderful performances. I think this film may actually have been a little too subtle for many people and that this is the reason for some of the more negative reviews. I think it is the best film I have seen this year so far. Expand
  14. BobE.
    Dec 1, 2006
    8
    Sadly we live within a culture that accepts a character like the Howard Crick (at the beginning of the film) as a functioning human being - he has a job, pays his rent, acts normal on the street. He is terribly incomplete though, emotional and spiritually, and his transformation into a person who can love, has reasons to live, and even reasons to accept his inevitable (early) death Sadly we live within a culture that accepts a character like the Howard Crick (at the beginning of the film) as a functioning human being - he has a job, pays his rent, acts normal on the street. He is terribly incomplete though, emotional and spiritually, and his transformation into a person who can love, has reasons to live, and even reasons to accept his inevitable (early) death gracefully, is a beautiful thing to watch. All the supporting characters are almost perfect, and allow Will Ferrell to shine in this surprisingly subtle performance. Please see this film. Expand
  15. BrianG.
    Dec 11, 2006
    9
    Pure cinema magic. The quirkiness of the plot should not distract viewers from the fact that this is a movie with plenty of substance and heart. Some feel the ending is a cop out but I feel it's the finale it deserves and is justified by Emma Thompson's reasoning at the end of the film. The most heartwarming and uplifting film I've seen in some time.
  16. AmaraN.
    Jan 12, 2007
    10
    Lovely movie. Simple in every way, yet profound. This was a work rich in literary devices and open to interpretation. It takes a poetic view on the meaning of life, the perception of its quality and what makes it worth living. It exermines the role of a higher purpose in the justification of tragedy and in the process opening the door for a series of possible spiritual and philosophical Lovely movie. Simple in every way, yet profound. This was a work rich in literary devices and open to interpretation. It takes a poetic view on the meaning of life, the perception of its quality and what makes it worth living. It exermines the role of a higher purpose in the justification of tragedy and in the process opening the door for a series of possible spiritual and philosophical interpretations. Its a hugely significant movie that every one should see. Expand
  17. JoeA.
    Feb 28, 2007
    10
    An unexpectedly moving drama. A critic listed here gave it a 38 (!?), draws an unfair comparison to 'Adaption' and 'I Heart Huckabee'. Unfair because those two flawed films start out modestly and with promise, but peter out in as pretentious messes. Better comparisons are 'The Truman Show' and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' (both starred An unexpectedly moving drama. A critic listed here gave it a 38 (!?), draws an unfair comparison to 'Adaption' and 'I Heart Huckabee'. Unfair because those two flawed films start out modestly and with promise, but peter out in as pretentious messes. Better comparisons are 'The Truman Show' and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' (both starred JIm Carrey, hmmm...). Expand
  18. Jw
    Mar 9, 2007
    8
    Will Ferrell is likeable enough, and his acting in this movie is best after he learns his fate - or the fate of his character. Or whatever. He seems to me, though, to come across a little like Steve Martin in Shop Girl, in that he is most especially a blank canvas on which the supporting cast paints. His main character being a creation of the others' interaction with him. The reason Will Ferrell is likeable enough, and his acting in this movie is best after he learns his fate - or the fate of his character. Or whatever. He seems to me, though, to come across a little like Steve Martin in Shop Girl, in that he is most especially a blank canvas on which the supporting cast paints. His main character being a creation of the others' interaction with him. The reason this movie thrives anyway is because that happens to be exactly what the story is about. What luck. But to my mind, this movie belongs chiefly to Thompson, Hoffman, and Gyllenhaal. I am now distinctly aware of how embarrassingly few Emma Thompson movies I've seen, because she is brilliant -and brilliant physically- in this. Her first (visible) scene won me over for good. And as for Hoffman.... Has there been a more graceful transition from starring in great films to just being in great films? He has the best-timed line in the whole thing: "Do you have magical powers?" Hilarious. Expand
  19. SeanF.
    Mar 16, 2007
    9
    Even though the critics were close on this one, it's even better than they said. This is by far the best movie Will Ferrell has been in. He's helped by good performances from Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. Just a very neat movie, with a pretty innovative script. If you like movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MInd, Existenz, or Being John Malkovich, you'll also Even though the critics were close on this one, it's even better than they said. This is by far the best movie Will Ferrell has been in. He's helped by good performances from Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. Just a very neat movie, with a pretty innovative script. If you like movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MInd, Existenz, or Being John Malkovich, you'll also like this. Expand
  20. HC.
    Mar 18, 2007
    8
    I was thoroughly won over by this movie. I don't think it's perfect (for instance, Gyllenhaal's character had some crap dialogue most of the way through). Will Ferrell was impressive as a straight actor (his character being the sort of robot/puppet that comes to life) & I love how understated he was throughout most of it. Dustin Hoffman was great---as others have I was thoroughly won over by this movie. I don't think it's perfect (for instance, Gyllenhaal's character had some crap dialogue most of the way through). Will Ferrell was impressive as a straight actor (his character being the sort of robot/puppet that comes to life) & I love how understated he was throughout most of it. Dustin Hoffman was great---as others have mentioned--he had some of the best lines. However, Emma Thompson was a revelation in this film--easily the best thing about it. Such a hilarious/intelligent/emotive performance--made all the better (I think) by the stern Queen Latifah "assistant" character. They played well off each other---though you really couldn't take your eyes off Thompson. I haven't read the novel, so I can't comment on how well it was adapted---but as a movie, I think it was terribly overlooked last year when it was released. Definitely worth your DVD time and a solid movie overall. Expand
  21. MartinS.
    Apr 11, 2007
    8
    A sweet story made to make audiences leave the theater with that warm and fuzzy feeling. This was the first film I"ve seen Will Ferrell in that I didn't feel like walking out on. His deadpan characterization of Harold Crick makes the movie. If I had to have my life narrated I wouldn't mind hearing Emma Thompsons voice.
  22. Feb 6, 2011
    10
    Stranger Than Fiction is a surpirsingly mesmerizing motion picture. Will Ferell delivers his best performance ever. Instead of making an idiot of himself by knocking down furniture and making crude jokes, he gives a quirky and endearing performance. Yes, he does do some of the same things he always does, but here, he uses it to show his dramatic side. And everybody else is great too. TheStranger Than Fiction is a surpirsingly mesmerizing motion picture. Will Ferell delivers his best performance ever. Instead of making an idiot of himself by knocking down furniture and making crude jokes, he gives a quirky and endearing performance. Yes, he does do some of the same things he always does, but here, he uses it to show his dramatic side. And everybody else is great too. The idea is great, the script is funny, dramatic, sweet, and smart, the direction is cool, and the ending made me cry. Overall, this is a very funny, dramatic, smart, and sweet dramedy that is one of Will Ferell's best. Expand
  23. Jun 2, 2013
    9
    First of all, the story is so smart, clever, complex, but all the while completely simple. The execution of it makes the difference, director Marc Forster did a perfect job with this one. It's different, touching, funny, and most important...thought-provoking! It really makes you think about life. The cast is my absolute favorite thing about the film. I do not like Will Ferrell at all, norFirst of all, the story is so smart, clever, complex, but all the while completely simple. The execution of it makes the difference, director Marc Forster did a perfect job with this one. It's different, touching, funny, and most important...thought-provoking! It really makes you think about life. The cast is my absolute favorite thing about the film. I do not like Will Ferrell at all, nor do I like his movies. He's too over the top and rarely funny in my opinion, but here, he acts. He genuinely tries to portray a character, and he succeeds. He really gives a good performance, and to this day, this is the only film of his that I like and will confidently recommend to anyone. Emma Thompson gives a truly remarkable performance as the suicidal author, Karen Eiffel; her performance is so good that I think she deserved an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but that's just me. I laughed at her, felt for her, and was even weirded out by her quirkiness. It's a well-rounded and highly memorable performance for me. Then there's the famous Dustin Hoffman who was excellently cast, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays one of my all-time favorite movie characters, Miss Pascal, a free spirited Baker who becomes the love interest in the film. It's hard to describe her really, but Gyllenhaal is PERFECT! A stunning performance that I will never forget. Also the small roles of Queen Latifah, Tom Hulce, and Linda Hunt are so nice.

    The screenplay is another one of my favorite things about the film; the writing and script of this film is smart, fresh, and brilliant. There are many memorable and quotable dialogue scenes. Add to that a brilliant cast and a good director....everything falls perfectly into place. Also the locations used in the film are perfect! It gives the film an indie feel that I absolutely love.

    Stranger Than Fiction: a great, near perfect comedy film! Completely underrated, in my opinion. I recommend it!
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  24. Jun 19, 2013
    8
    It's a treat when watching a film like 'Stranger Than Fiction' where you come to realise that what you are watching is simply nothing like the trailer that you seen for it many months before, that descriptions are cleverly vague in what exactly to expect from the film, and with an excellent cast and very thoughtful and imaginative story, it will surely tickle the creative bud in us all.It's a treat when watching a film like 'Stranger Than Fiction' where you come to realise that what you are watching is simply nothing like the trailer that you seen for it many months before, that descriptions are cleverly vague in what exactly to expect from the film, and with an excellent cast and very thoughtful and imaginative story, it will surely tickle the creative bud in us all.
    Will Ferrell proves he is more than just a comedic actor as he delivers an unforgettable and moving performance as Harold Krick, a routine and by the book individual who lives by his a source of numbers and calculation, something that decides to turn on him in a variety of ways. Directly intertwined with Harold's story is that of Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson) who is a world renowned author, someone who in the present is suffering from writer's block, something her publishers are concerned about so they send in Penny (Queen Latifah) to make sure it gets finished, but she is unsure about killing or how to kill her main character...Harold Krick.
    Harold goes about his daily life but begins to hear the voice of Karen, narrating his every move as if she is writing it down, because that's exactly what she is doing, unaware that Harold can hear her.
    Initially deemed as crazy, naturally, Harold manages to find the help of Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), a literature professor who recognises some of the writing that Harold informs him of what he is hearing.
    There is a very interesting and intriguing story being in told in Stranger Than Fiction, how a seemingly normal life can in fact have its tendencies to go off the rails a little, but also how many people can affect a particular outcome.
    There are also messages of control and freedom, with Harold trying to break the mould of his life so as Karen's plot cannot move forward. There is a notion here of not settling for what is comfortable, but what might just make you happier, as Harold the IRS man is auditing a bakery woman named Ana (Maggie Gyllenhaal), he realises he is indeed in need of a change.
    Harold struggles with the dilemma of his imminent death the same way others struggle with upheaval, the film exercises discussion and compromise where necessary which ultimately delivers a very wonderful and thoughtful story, complex yet straightforward and never dull, with excellent performances.
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  25. Jul 5, 2013
    6
    Not one of those laugh out loud ha-ha comedies, yet you cannot watch this film without at least chuckling quite a bit. The film is mixed in with just the right dose of "emotion" and wit. While Ema Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Maggie Gyllenhaal did all put on great performances (as we would expect) it was Will Farrell an actor with whom I had never bothered before that was theNot one of those laugh out loud ha-ha comedies, yet you cannot watch this film without at least chuckling quite a bit. The film is mixed in with just the right dose of "emotion" and wit. While Ema Thompson, Dustin Hoffman and Maggie Gyllenhaal did all put on great performances (as we would expect) it was Will Farrell an actor with whom I had never bothered before that was the show-stopper in this one! Expand
  26. Sep 12, 2013
    8
    Very touching movie. It's not a comedy, nor a drama, hard to tell...just a good movie with a nice concept. Will Ferrell plays a rare role for his career, he is not a comic here, and he plays great! Other actors fit and play well too. The only thing I didn't like the ending much, but of course I won't spoil it.
    Max Richter's music in the OST was a really pleasant surprise!
  27. Sep 24, 2013
    9
    An imaginative and unique feel-good movie that carries starling performances from its all star cast. "Stranger Than FIction" is the "watch it again" film that will have its audiences laughing and crying. It's not a tear jerking comedic laugh fest, although it delivers its share of laughs, "Stranger Than Fiction" is a smart and witty film that not only holds intellegent dialogue andAn imaginative and unique feel-good movie that carries starling performances from its all star cast. "Stranger Than FIction" is the "watch it again" film that will have its audiences laughing and crying. It's not a tear jerking comedic laugh fest, although it delivers its share of laughs, "Stranger Than Fiction" is a smart and witty film that not only holds intellegent dialogue and hilarious scenes, but it also carries its share of emotional sequences that will have you on the edge of your seat while holding back a fresh batch of tears. It's an absolute joy to watch, it's like a mixture of "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" meets "THe Perks Of Bieng A Wallflower" meets "Punk Drunk Love." Totally underrated. Expand
  28. Mar 21, 2011
    10
    Stranger Than Fiction is a great comedy/drama film done very well by Will Farrell.
  29. WallyW.
    Nov 10, 2006
    5
    Just okay...premise was good, actors were good, but it in the end, it was fairly lite on laughs and the film failed to support the premise. It was clever...but I didn't care. Wait for the DVD.
  30. MCE
    Jan 2, 2008
    7
    I agree that it was fun but could have been done better. Not sure what Queen L.'s contribution was and what the value of the time spent on the love interest was (other than to become a "date" movie. But I did enjoy it.
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. When Ferrell and Hoffman do their thing together, a charming bit of whimsy becomes something more. It becomes really, really funny.
  2. 75
    This is a Ferrell you've never seen before, nailing a role that calls for breakneck humor in the final race against the clock and touching gravity in the love scenes with Gyllenhaal.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Sometimes becomes too self-consciously clever, and it doesn't entirely resolve its own central dilemma. But it remains inventive and funny to the end, features fine performances from Will Ferrell and especially Emma Thompson.