Stranger Than Fiction

This past weekend, Bill and I watched Stranger Than Fiction. We liked it; it provided some food for thought.

From The Internet Movie database comes this review:

No humor, no suspense, no cursing, no use of the “n” word, no frontal nudity, not even rear end nudity, no sex at all, no car chases, no drive-by shootings, no screaming or yelling..just NOTHING to keep a person awake for 2 hours.

They gave it one out of ten stars. If you’re expecting a typical Will Ferrell movie (a la Talladega Nights), this ain’t it. For those of us with entertainment tastes slightly more sophisticated than the average NASCAR fan, it’s not a snoozer. I managed to stay awake, but I totally slept through V For Vendetta with its plethora of violence.

Harold Crick (Ferrell) suddenly begins to hear a voice narrating his life. At first, it is merely obnoxious, and he wonders about his mental health. He then becomes quite alarmed when he hears the narrator casually mention his “imminent death.” He seeks help from a shrink who refers him to a professor of literature (yes, that’s a bit silly, and of course, we all know the guy would end up on anti- psychotic drugs faster than he could just say no, but it works). The professor helps him discern what kind of story he is in (tragedy or comedy), what chance he has for survival, and who the author is. He also encourages Harold to, basically, seize the day, which Harold does.

I venture to guess that very few people would actually want to know the day and time and method by which one would die. Would you have boarded the Titantic if you knew it would sink? Would you not rather sleep late than face the morning commute if you knew someone would spin out of control and nail you? Even soldiers, firefighters, police, and other workers who face danger daily don’t go to work thinking their number is up. They rush into buildings to save lives while praying for a miracle to protect their own.

Harold Crick meets the author and pleads for his life. She gives him her outline of his death, but, being just a tiny bit freaked out by the reality of her character, begins to doubt that she should tell the tale. Harold reads his story, learns of his heroic death, and freely chooses this end. As the author correctly points out, it is one thing to die a hero’s death, but something even greater to freely choose in advance to die a hero’s death.

Although I didn’t notice any mention of it at TIMd, it is glaringly obvious, especially during this Lenten season, that Harold Crick is a Christ-like figure. My guess is that those who didn’t like the movie didn’t get this or aren’t the type to be drawn to such a story (no sex in The Passion, despite the name). I thought that the analogy, though clear, was not blunt. And I appreciate that.

On a completely different note, Bill’s wrist watch recently breathed it’s last tick, and he liked Harold Crick’s watch enough that I got it for him. I wonder if it will spontaneously chime whenever I’m in the vicinity…

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