Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Rating: 3.5
A socially isolated IRS agent whose every move is documented by a disembodied female voice discovers that his life is the subject of a book currently being written by a best-selling author, whose creative block has stunted her repeated efforts to kill him off, in a quirky fantasy comedy written by Hollywood hot property Zach Helm and directed by Finding Neverland's Marc Forester. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) lives a life of solitude. Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson) can't seem to find a way to finish her latest book. Though Harold and Kay have never actually met, their fates are about to become intertwined in a most unusual manner. With her publishers growing increasingly impatient with her apparent inability to put the finishing touches on her latest novel, Kay is assigned a new assistant whose task it is to help provide the creative push needed to get her book finished and into the hands of her many eager fans. The subject of Kay's novel is a lonely and despairing IRS agent named Harold Crick, who believes that his life has lost any real meaning. As Kay continues to weave Harold's woeful tale without realizing that her protagonist is actually a living human being unable to concentrate on his life and career due to the constant interference of the narrator who inexplicably seems to anticipate his every move and read his every thought, her continued efforts to kill her perplexed subject finally provide him with the incentive needed to fully experience life by seeking out the source of the voice that plagues him. Penned by the screenwriter named by Variety magazine as one of the "Top Ten Writers to Watch" and who was also included in Esquire magazine's "Best and Brightest" list of 2004, Stranger Than Fiction features supporting performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah. ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

Will Ferrell adds this to his long list of accomplishments as well as being nominated for 2007:Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. I like the playing of one of my favorite songs "Whole Wide World" by Harold on Ana's Guitar but still liked the Monkey's version better.

The "GUI" interface was more interesting to think about it after watching the featurettes. And it includes a lot of back scene dialogue.

But of more interest to me was the performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal as Ana Pascal. Ana was the revolutionary baker bucking the system including against the IRS men (Harold). But Ana provides the reason for Harold to live and the impetus for Harold to look for and find the writer and to ask for his life back. Maggie does a fine job displaying the sentiment of trying to help out her fellow man. So even though it was a fairly fast romance, it still had substance.

Even off screen she has been a rebel:
Gyllenhaal is a politically active Democrat[2] and like her brother and parents supports the American Civil Liberties Union. Gyllenhaal participated in anti-war demonstrations in the lead-up to the Iraqi conflict[3] and achieved some notoriety for being quoted as saying America was "responsible in some way" for the 9/11 attacks.
Gyllenhaal drew fire after an interview with NY1 at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival where she suggested that the United States was somewhat responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks. She remarked, "I think America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way..." In response to the criticism, she issued a statement saying that 9/11 was "an occasion to be brave enough to ask some serious questions about America's role in the world" and that it was "useful as individuals or nations to ask how we may have knowingly or unknowingly contributed to this conflict." She pointedly denied saying that the 9/11 attacks were deserved.[12] Gyllenhaal later said that she regretted her comments, and asserted that film interviews were not the "right place" to discuss politics.[13] Gyllenhaal also said that she had "nothing but gratitude and admiration" for firefighters and that she should have "been more gentle and more thoughtful" in her comments.[14]

Gyllenhaal eventually met with Port Authority officer Will Jimeno and his wife, Allison, whom Gyllenhaal depicted in the 2006 film World Trade Center. Gyllenhaal said she would have left the project if the Jimenos wanted, but Allison Jimeno expressed that she and her husband were comfortable with her and "had no problem with her in [the] movie."

Interview : Maggie Gyllenhaal

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