Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 191 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, an IRS Agent whose world is turned upside-down when he begins to hear his life being chronicled by a narrator only he can hear. The Narrator, Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a nearly forgotten author of tragic novels, is struggling to complete her latest and best book, unaware that her protagonist is alive and uncontrollably guided by her words. Fiction and reality collide when the bewildered and hilariously resistant Harold hears the Narrator say that events have been set in motion that will lead to his imminent death. (Sony) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. 91
    In a feat of performing imagination, Ferrell turns his usual extroversion inside out and his usual zaniness into precision, and makes it all work for him.
  2. Maybe the best thing about Stranger Than Fiction is the way it extracts unexpected work from underrated actors.
  3. 75
    Stranger Than Fiction may not be the typical crowd-pleaser, but it's a sweet, funny, intelligent film that showcases just how much Ferrell can do, even when he's doing less.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    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.
  5. 70
    Teems with ideas both literary and existential, which might make it unbearably precious, were it not redeemed by woozy charm and some serious acting from Will Ferrell.
  6. An eminently easy-to-watch piece of one-joke pop japery, is a movie that mimics the I'm-a-character-in-my-own-life metaphysical playfulness of "The Truman Show."
  7. 38
    Watching the movie made me long for the big , risky ideas and entertainingly fearless filmmaking in David O. Russell's "I Heart Huckabees " and Spike Jonze's "Adaptation ," which Kaufman wrote. Both were similarly conceptual escapades, but they let it all hang out.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 61 out of 70
  2. Negative: 4 out of 70
  1. WayneH.
    Mar 27, 2007
    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. SamF.
    Nov 13, 2006
    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. Expand
  3. JeffT
    Nov 22, 2006
    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 Expand
  4. JanetC
    Dec 22, 2008
    This is a really good and thoroughly enjoyable film. It's funny everytime you watch it. The ending lets it down quite a LOT, to be honest. But that's the only fault it has the burden of bearing. My 11 year old sister actually loves it too, so it clearly has mass appeal for a very wide and varied audience. Recommended. Expand
  5. ChadS.
    Nov 27, 2006
    "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
  6. MarkS.
    Jul 1, 2007
    Very enjoyable, and a nice idea. But does make you wonder if it could have been done better.
  7. JasonD.
    Nov 11, 2006
    The writing for this was NOT amazing. Funny how I was making my own list of whether this was a comedy or a tragedy throughtout the film. The actors were great, but I just didn't care and found myself checking my watch more than once. The comedy is so lame that you laugh more at the one person laughing in the theater than what actually happens on the screen. With all the other great films out right now, this one is worth waiting for the rental. Expand

See all 70 User Reviews


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