I recently saw the film Stranger than Fiction for the third or fourth time. I’m not a fan of Will Ferrell, but seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie, put it in your Netflix queue. I’d tell you my favorite part of the film, but that would be a spoiler. When you hear the line “I brought you flowers”, you’ll know that’s it.
If you’re not at all familiar with the film, it stars Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, with a slam dunk supporting cast that includes Dennis Hoffman, and Queen Latifah, and a brief sighting of Kristin Chenoweth as an annoying talk show host. Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a mild mannered (read: boring) IRS agent who suddenly begins to hear a British woman’s voice narrating his life. No one else can hear the voice, and Harold immediately assumes he’s losing his mind. He seeks psychiatric advice (his therapist is played by the always amusing Linda Hunt, most recently of NCIS: Los Angeles fame) and eventually finds his way to a well known professor of English Literature (Hoffman). While Hoffman’s portrayal of Professor Jules Hilbert is oddly reminiscent of his role in I (Heart) Huckabees, he does a good job of being equal parts eccentricity and concern for Harold’s predicament.
The narration is only mildly annoying until the author suggests that Harold is going to die. The situation become more, well, dire, at that point. He eventually finds out the the narrator is renowned novelist Karen Eiffel (Thompson) who is completing her first novel in ten years. Queen Latifah is a wonderful surprise as Eiffel’s assistant and Maggie Gyllenhaal comes alive as Harold’s love interest. One of my favorite characters in the film is Dave, Harold’s best friend and fellow IRS agent, played by Tony Hale. Dave delivers one of the best lines in the film, reminding us all to never give up on our dreams. He says, “Dude, you’re never to old for Space Camp.”
This really didn’t start out as a movie review, so much as an explanation of my particular brand of inspiration. I feel compelled, after seeing this film, to write a book. I’m annoyed by the way things tend to always work out in films and books, and I think I’ll write a book about what happens when you don’t live happily ever after.
We’ll see how it goes.