Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)

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Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_table_infobox_0

Stranger than FictionStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_0_0
Directed byStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_1_0 Marc ForsterStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_1_1
Produced byStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_2_0 Lindsay DoranStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_2_1
Written byStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_3_0 Zach HelmStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_3_1
StarringStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_4_0 Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_4_1
Music byStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_5_0 Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_5_1
CinematographyStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_6_0 Roberto SchaeferStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_6_1
Edited byStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_7_0 Matt ChesseStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_7_1
Production

companiesStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_8_0

Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_8_1
Distributed byStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_9_0 Sony Pictures ReleasingStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_9_1
Release dateStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_10_0 Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_10_1
Running timeStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_11_0 113 minutesStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_11_1
CountryStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_12_0 United StatesStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_12_1
LanguageStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_13_0 EnglishStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_13_1
BudgetStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_14_0 $30 millionStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_14_1
Box officeStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_header_cell_0_15_0 $53.7 millionStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_cell_0_15_1

Stranger than Fiction is a 2006 American fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Marc Forster, produced by Lindsay Doran, and written by Zach Helm. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_0

The film stars Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Emma Thompson. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_1

The main plot follows Harold Crick (Ferrell), an IRS agent who begins hearing a disembodied voice narrating his life as it happens – seemingly the text of a novel in which it is stated that he, the main character, will soon die – and he frantically seeks to somehow prevent that ending. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_2

The film was shot on location in Chicago, and has been praised for its innovative, intelligent story and fine performances. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_3

Ferrell, who came to prominence playing brash comedic parts, garnered particular attention for offering a restrained performance in his first starring dramatic role. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_4

Stranger than Fiction was released by Columbia Pictures on November 10, 2006. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_5

Upon release, the film received positive reviews mainly for its themes, humor, and performances. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_6

Plot Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_0

Harold Crick is an Internal Revenue Service agent and lives a solitary life that he strictly schedules by his wristwatch. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_7

On the day he is assigned to audit an intentionally tax-delinquent baker named Ana Pascal, Harold begins hearing the voice of a woman narrating his life. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_8

When Harold's watch stops working and he resets it using the time from a bystander, the voice narrates that this action will eventually result in Harold's death. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_9

Harold consults a psychiatrist who recommends him to a literary expert if he believes there is a narrator. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_10

Harold visits Jules Hilbert, a literature professor, who initially dismisses Harold. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_11

However, he recognizes omniscient narrative devices in what Harold claims the voice said and is intrigued. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_12

He advises Harold to identify the author and determine if his story is a comedy or tragedy. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_13

As Harold audits Ana he develops an attraction to her, but when he obliviously rejects a gift of cookies because it could be considered a bribe, he takes it as a sign he is in a tragedy. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_14

Jules tells Harold to spend the day at home doing nothing, and Harold's living room is destroyed by a demolition crew that went to the wrong building. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_15

Jules tells Harold that such an improbable event is proof he no longer controls his destiny, so he should accept whatever fate the narrator has decided and enjoy the time he has left. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_16

Harold takes time off work, takes guitar lessons, moves in with his co-worker Dave, and starts dating Ana. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_17

Believing Ana loves him, Harold re-evaluates his story as a comedy. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_18

While meeting with Jules, Harold sees a television interview with author Karen Eiffel and identifies her as the narrator. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_19

Jules, an admirer of Karen's work, warns that all of her books end with the protagonist dying. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_20

Karen has been struggling with writer's block on her next book because she cannot figure out how to kill Harold Crick, but has had a breakthrough and begun writing again. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_21

Harold telephones Karen and stuns her when he accurately recounts her book to her. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_22

The two meet in person and she explains she has written, though not yet typed up, the conclusion. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_23

Her assistant, Penny, recommends Harold read the manuscript, but he cannot bring himself to read it and gives it to Jules. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_24

Jules deems it Karen's masterpiece to which Harold's death is integral, and he consoles Harold that death is inevitable, but this death will hold a deeper meaning. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_25

Harold reads the manuscript and returns it to Karen, and tells her the death she has written for him is beautiful and he accepts it. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_26

Harold takes care of some errands and spends his last night with Ana. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_27

The next morning Harold goes about his routine again as Karen writes and narrates. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_28

She reveals that when Harold's wristwatch stopped and he reset it, it was three minutes fast, causing Harold to arrive to the bus stop earlier than usual. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_29

A boy riding a bicycle falls and Harold runs onto the road to get him to safety, and is hit by the bus. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_30

However, Karen cannot bring herself to finish the sentence declaring him dead. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_31

Harold wakes up in a hospital, and is told that his life was saved when his ulnar artery was blocked by shrapnel from his wristwatch, which was destroyed in the collision; the blocked artery prevented him from bleeding to death. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_32

Karen sees Jules and offers him a revised ending. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_33

Jules notes the story is weaker without Harold's death, and Karen points out the book was about a man who did not know he was going to die, but if Harold knew and accepted his fate, that is the kind of person who deserves to live. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_34

Karen's narration closes the film over a montage of Harold's newly invigorated life, ending on the ruined wristwatch that saved his life. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_35

Cast Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_1

Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_unordered_list_0

  • Will Ferrell as Harold Crick, an IRS agent who starts hearing Eiffel's voice narrating his life.Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_0
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal as Ana Pascal, a local baker who goes up against any kinds of governmental taxes but falls in love with Crick.Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_1
  • Emma Thompson as Karen Eiffel, a partially depressed author known for killing her main protagonists in her novels, but ends up writing a novel named "Death and Taxes" about Harold's life.Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_2
  • Dustin Hoffman as Professor Jules Hilbert, a literature expert advising Crick.Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_3
  • Queen Latifah as Penny Escher, a secretary who helps authors to finish their works.Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_4
  • Tony Hale as Dave, Harold's friend from his work.Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_5
  • Tom Hulce as Dr. CaylyStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_6
  • Linda Hunt as Dr. Mittag-Leffler, a psychologist whom Crick sees in hopes of solving his narration problem.Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_7
  • Kristin Chenoweth as Book Channel hostStranger than Fiction (2006 film)_item_0_8

Production Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_2

Writing Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_3

In 2001, writer Zach Helm was working with producer Clarence Helmus on a project they called "The Disassociate". Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_36

Helm came to Doran with a new idea involving a man who finds himself accompanied by a narrator that only he can hear. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_37

Helm next decided that the narrator should state that the man is going to die because, as Helm described, "there's something very poetic about the understanding of one's place in the universe, but it's far more dramatic when such understanding occurs only days before that life ends." Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_38

Helm and Doran began referring to the new project as "The Narrator Project" and developed the story through a process of Helm's bringing ideas and Doran's asking questions. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_39

One of Helm's main ideas involved engaging the movie's form as much as its content. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_40

Helm named each of the film's chief characters after a famous scientist or scientifically influential artist, examples including Crick, Pascal, Eiffel, Escher, and Hilbert. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_41

When the character of Dr. Hilbert tells Harold that he has devised a series of 23 questions in order to investigate the narrator, it is a playful reference to Hilbert's 23 problems. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_42

The film's title derives from a quote by Lord Byron: "Tis strange—but true; for truth is always strange, Stranger than fiction". Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_43

According to Helm, one of the film's major themes is of interconnectivity. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_44

Helm stated "Each of these characters ends up doing little things to save one another. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_45

There's an underlying theme that the things we take most for granted are often the ones that make life worth living and actually keep us alive." Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_46

Photography Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_4

The film was shot on location in Chicago, Illinois. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_47

Dave's apartment, in which Harold takes residence after his own building partially is demolished, is part of the River City Condominiums. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_48

Hilbert's office was in a lecture hall at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_49

The CNA Center at 333 South Wabash Avenue in the Loop served as the location for the IRS office. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_50

The bakery that Ana Pascal runs is located in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago and is called La Catedral Cafe & Restaurant. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_51

The movie theatre in the film is the Logan Theatre located in the Logan Square neighborhood. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_52

Many downtown Chicago locations were used for scenes involving Karen Eiffel, Penny Escher, and Harold Crick. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_53

Columbia Pictures distributed the film. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_54

The film partly was inspired by Playtime (1967), Jacques Tati's visionary comedy about modern urban life, and the cinematography and production design help create a claustrophobic sense of life in the city. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_55

Music Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_5

Main article: Stranger than Fiction (soundtrack) Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_56

The music for this film includes original scores by the collaborative effort of Britt Daniel (singer/songwriter of Spoon) and Brian Reitzell (composer for Friday Night Lights, The Bling Ring and Hannibal), as well as a mix of indie rock songs from various artists including Spoon. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_57

Reitzell is also the film's music supervisor. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_58

The soundtrack includes an original recording of "Whole Wide World", the song that Harold plays for Ana, by Wreckless Eric. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_59

Release Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_6

Stranger than Fiction was released in the United States on November 10, 2006. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_60

It opened at #4 in the box office and grossed $13.4 million in 2264 theaters. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_61

Its widest release was 2270 theaters, across which it grossed $40.7 million. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_62

Outside the US, it grossed another $13 million, for a worldwide total of $53.6 million. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_63

Reception Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_7

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 73% approval rating based on 175 reviews; the average rating is 6.87/10. Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_64

The site's critical consensus reads, "A fun, whimsical tale about an office drone trying to save his life from his narrator, Stranger Than Fiction features a subdued performance from Will Ferrell that contributes mightily to its quirky, mind-bending affect." Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_65

On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 67 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_66

Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars, stating that the film was thought-provoking and moral, and that "Such an uncommonly intelligent film does not often get made...which requires us to enter the lives of these specific quiet, sweet, worthy people", and he also praised Ferrell's performance saying, "Will Ferrell stars, in another role showing that like Steve Martin and Robin Williams he has dramatic gifts to equal his comedic talent". Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_67

Rolling Stone rated the film 3 out of 4 stars, stating that though the premise of Ferrell's life being narrated is a set-up for farce, the film is "less self-reflexively clever and more intimate". Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_68

Todd McCarthy in Variety positively reviewed the film, praising its invention and Ferrell's performance as nuanced: first playing a tight focused caricature of the company man, then exercising more humanity and wit without being "goofy". Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_sentence_69

Accolades Stranger than Fiction (2006 film)_section_8

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stranger than Fiction (2006 film).