Director: Marc Forster
Writer: Zach Helm
Starring: Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah
I wasn't sure what to expect going into Stranger Than Fiction (2006). On one hand it looked to have a very interesting concept and looked as if it might be very well made. On the other hand I have never been a big fan of Will Ferrell. So the film already had one thing it would have to overcome for me to enjoy it. I also was concerned going in about how they would end this film, it just felt like no matter how good the movie was there would be no way to end it on a strong note.
Will Ferrell (Harold Crick) completely surprised me with this film, he was actually really good. I have read some reviews that they say Ferrell should be an Oscar contender for this film, and while he was definitely good I won't go that far. It seems to be that every time an actor that normally does very comedic roles actually shows that he is a competent actor people start talking about Oscars. I thought he was excellent in the film and I have new found respect for him as an actor but I wouldn't go as far as saying his performance was Oscar worthy. However, if he continues to take on challenging roles like this, I can see him blossoming into a wonderful actor.
As for the ending of the film I wasn't sure how they could possibly give the film a good, strong ending that I wouldn't see coming. The way I saw it, there were only two ways to end the film, either Harold Crick dies or he doesn't. If he dies you have an unneeded depressing ending. Not that I am against depressing endings but it would have totally ruined the mood of the film. Then again the only way i could to keep him alive at the end would be through some ridiculously convoluted series of events that would leave me unsatisfied. However, this is another thing that pleasantly surprised me. The movie actually managed to offer an ending that was not only surprising but actually felt like a genuinely good way to end the film.
The performances in the film were pretty good all around. Dustin Hoffman (Professor Jules Hilbert) was amazing as usual and I really enjoyed the character that he played. The conversations between Harold Crick and Professor Hilbert were very well done and led to some of the most wonderful moments in the film. Maggie Gyllenhaal (Ana Pascal) also did a wonderful job and there was actually some really good chemistry in the film between Gyllenhaal and Ferrell. My absolute favorite scene in the film is when Harold is playing the guitar and singing for Ana, something about that scene just struck a chord with me and there was just something so moving about it.
Overall it was an absolutely wonderful film, and I really enjoyed seeing it. Will Farrell managed to not annoy me in this film as he does in most of his other roles and not only that he showed that he can be a competent actor when he wants to be. This is definitely a film I would recommend to others.