I’m Stranger than Fiction

I’m Stranger than Fiction

You know those emotional moments that take you by surprise? The ones that come and go and you never let on that they did. You do this because, as we all are, you’re afraid that telling anyone that those emotions just hit you will leave them thinking you’re crazy. Or worse: will leave them laughing.

I should know better, but I didn’t let that moment pass tonight.

Will Farrell on the couch

We were watching Stranger than Fiction, in which Harold Crick (played by Will Farrell), an auditor for the IRS, begins hearing a voice narrating every detail of his otherwise mundane life. Certain that he isn’t insane, he pursues the source of the voice fervently when it says that – little does he know – his death is immanent.

As it turns out, the voice is that of a famous novelist who is writing a book about him. She is completely unaware that he is, in fact, quite real, and even less aware that her every written word determines yet another step in his life, bringing him closer to his demise with every authoritative period. Things explode when they meet, and they swap their driving determinations. He realizes that he would rather see her book through to completion, willing to die in the manner in which she has prescribed. She, however, realizes that she is going to kill a real person in the process, and seeks to find a way to free him from the end she has constructed for him.


What was particularly gripping for me was the scene where Harold meets the author, Kay Eiffel (played by Emma Thompson). I don’t think this comes across as anything beyond coy or, perhaps at best, intriguing to the average viewer. To me it was throat throttling. The idea of having one of your characters walk into a room to meet you, knowing you almost as well as you know them, and approaching you in real life moved me. Her shock, fear, wonder, and excitement were all palpable.

And it made me wonder in that moment if that was the kind of feeling parents have when they see scenes depicting interactions with children. Something I can’t connect to without having kids of my own. I mentioned it to my friends, that it had been a completely different experience for me watching it this time than it had been years ago. One of the girls couldn’t help but laugh at me for about two minutes.



I did appreciate the movie as a whole, however, in a completely new way. My perspective on writing/being an author has changed dramatically in the last two years. But even the questions and musings that wandered through my head, like how on earth literary professors judge books in the first place, didn’t compete in the slightest with those few moving moments. Harold handing the manuscript to Kay, saying that he loved it, that he wanted her to finish it, was striking. How could there be a deeper compliment to your writing than to have your own character (who is very real in this instance), whose life depends on your every word, tell you that it’s beautiful, that it can only be so if they die?

And now you think I’m crazy too. Maybe I’m the only one.

In any case, when you stop laughing at me, give it a moment’s pause. Just don’t go asking Dustin Hoffman for any advice if you hear voices, because he’s liable to sell you out for a good ending.

White Shores on Amazon
  • I loved this movie! The only Will Ferrell Movie I actually want to see again.