Best Movies: “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006)

Some movies are made only once in a decade. And “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006) is one of them. I think “Stranger Than Fiction” is a 8+/10 movie. The story is extraordinary and unique, and the whole cast is quite good, from Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal to Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. In fact, “Stranger Than Fiction” is the best movie of Ferrell and Gyllenhaal. They are both great in this movie. Ferrell is exceptional as Harold Crick, an IRS-agent whose lonely life is only soothed by his regular cataloguing of the mundane details of his existence. The main story and the main themes of the movie are really good. One day, Harold Crick’s world is upset by the introduction of a voice in his head. The voice is narrating everything he does (the doctors think it’s a schizophrenia). But when the voice informs Harold that his demise is imminent, he enlists literature professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) to try to get to the bottom of what is happening to him. Together they try to figure out what kind of story Harold’s life is turning into, be it a comedy or a tragedy, and if the plot is something he can take control of or is out of his hands . Harold’s life is an example of our life. Like Harold, we, all, should try to test our life, to see if it’s a comedy or tragedy !! or we can take control of it or it’s out of our hands. What Harold does for testing his life and the genre of his story, is really interesting. It’s what we should do about our own real life !!

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Harold’s life is a comedy, but unfortunately or fortunately the real life is not comedy. Some say: “It’s a tragedy, or in the best case, is a tragicomedy”. But like Harold we should try to learn how we can face the tragedy, how we can avoid living a stupid nonsense life, and how we can live our life. One of the main things Harold pursues is his crush on Ana Pascal, the rebel baker who has left the Harvard for baking cookies. Ana says: “I wanted to change the world; so I went to the Harvard. I was gonna make the world a better place with my degree … But finally I understood that I can change the world by bakery, too”. Ana Pascal, she’s played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, is a lovely girl; a lovely revolutionary who refuses to pay her taxes, based on intellectual reasons. She is sarcastic, witty, and a smart alike. When Harold showed up to do her audit, her rejection and her reactions are very interesting. Of course, Harold’s life is an imaginary life and finally becomes a cliché, but it still can be a good example of our real life. Harold’s life that is written by an author, and is out of his control, has some meaningful similarities with the real life. Sometimes our life is out of our control, and sometimes we think our life, or part of it, is written by others or by an unknown author. Harold, like all of us, doesn’t want to die, too. But the literature professor (Dustin Hoffman) asks him to accept his death, and says: “You will die. [We can not run away from death]. Even if you avoid this death, another will find you. And I guarantee you, it won’t be nearly as poetic or meaningful as this one”. But Harold challenges him. Harold’s challenges are common challenges, i.e. the human challenges with the tragedy of life. And Harold’s final decision is a common choice, too.

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Stranger Than Fiction is written by a relative newcomer, Zach Helm, and directed by Marc Foster, who is the director of ”Finding Neverland” and ”Monster’s Ball’. Zach and Foster, both did a great job in Stranger Than Fiction. An American critic, who has watched the film in the cinema, said: “When I first walked out of the movie theatre on a Friday night after seeing Stranger Than Fiction, I couldn’t believe what a good time I had. As soon as we were done, my friend and I knew why some people hated it (they wanted a silly movie) and others loved it (they were open to something more unique). We both fell in the latter category. For the next several days, every time my friend and I were in contact, we talked about it. Stranger Than Fiction stuck with us, and it just got better with age”. We have watched the DVD of Stranger Than Fiction, and had the same experience. I think some Iranians have watched it in the state TV. Recently, the Iran’s state TV showed it again, of course with many stupid censorship. “Stranger Than Fiction” has not any censorable scene, but the stupid Mullahs only try to f-u-c-k everything as much as they can! (the movie is about 105 min, and when the Mullahs showed it in 2007, they showed 95 min of it, and now in 2011 they showed 80 min of it !!) Anyway, if you want to see a good comedy and think about human life, you can see Stranger Than Fiction’s DVD (without Mullah censorship).

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