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Fmlllllllllllllll

By | December 2011
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Stranger than Fiction is about love. It’s about free will. About fate. And literary theory. It’s about comedy, and it’s about tragedy. And it’s about Bavarian Crème Cookies. It’s smart, without being intellectual. It’s funny, though not hilarious. Droll, but not too self-aware. And it’s a fucking beautiful film. It’s bittersweet and achy and exhilarating and romantic and absorbing and hopeful and optimistic and, truly, it makes me happy to be a critic with so little to criticize. Above all, (and unlike 99 percent of the movies that will be made or released this year,)Stranger than Fiction is kind. It’s kind to its characters and kind to its audience, though it’s just smart enough that it’s never earnest. Indeed, there isn’t the tiniest dose of cynicism in the film, and Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Monster’s Ball) knows that any film worth its salt is more than just a whimsical conceit and Will Ferrell, which is why Fiction isn’t really about a man who is a character in his own life. It’s about how that man, Harold Crick (Ferrell) — an IRS Agent who experiences every second of his life embedded in routine — breaks free from monotony thanks to a narrator that speaks to him. If we were all to have our daily lives read back to us as we experience them, we’d probably realize the absurdity of our own routines and acknowledge that the comfort we find in monotony is just a lazy excuse to avoid really living — and I say this as a man who schedules his existence around the first matinée each Friday. Anyway, Harold Crick wakes up one morning and starts to hear a voice narrating his life. As you might imagine, this is disconcerting, particularly for someone who counts stairs, has an Asperger’s-like awareness of numbers, and whose life revolves around such rigorous planning that he gets to his bus stop each morning only seconds before the bus arrives. But the real question for Crick becomes this: Is the narrator, Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson), who is writing the book of...

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