Monday, December 18, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

I was really planning on having a full post tonight, but the day escaped me. Just to give you a quick recap of my weekend: went straight to my brother's place on Saturday where we had a little gathering that night, then I chilled out at his place yesterday until I came back to my house for a farewell party for my Uncle and Aunt (returning to India), and then today my brother came by again in the evening after I spent the afternoon with my friend watching Stranger Than Fiction and doing some more Christmas shopping. I started working on the post, but now I'm just really too tired to finish it since I have to fly out to Kansas City, MO tomorrow for interviews (which means no post again til Wednesday night, sorry)..

So now for the meat of my post: how was the movie? When I first saw the previews for this movie, I couldn't imagine the plot of a movie where a guy's life is being narrated by a British woman and he was trying to figure things out, but when the reviews were positive I figured that I had to give it a shot. It turns out that the heart of the story is that he learns some disturbing news about how the story is going to end as it is foreshadowed by the narrator and so the story unfolds as him trying to discover the details of his fate and shake up his mundane life. I don't know what makes this movie a good Sunday afternoon movie (I know, I watched it on a Monday), but it is. I have to start up with what I liked least about the movie: the pacing. It was the one flaw of the movie that really stood out to me. I knew it wouldn't be a knee-slapping comedy because it was meant to be a dramedy, with a focus on the drama. However, some scenes took longer than I think they could've to add to the effect of those scenes. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with that style of film making, but it makes me not want to see this movie again for a long while.

Now on to the good stuff: Will Ferrell finally took a role seriously! It's a miracle! I guess if you've seen enough of him on SNL you'll be a loyalist and say that he totally can't cut it being this serious character, but I think he did really well with it. His character was very sobering, and he definitely conveyed that within the first 10 minutes of the movie. I don't think I need to tell you that Maggie Gyllenhaal was amazing, but I'll say it anyway: she was Ana Pascal! Not only does she have the look of this unmistakably cute yet independent kind of girl, but she pretty much did everything the way I'd picture her character having done them. I know, that sounds weird, but just trust me: she really pulled it off. Queen Latifah wasn't anything special, but I definitely liked Dustin Hoffman as the sage professor, and Emma Thompson was a very good fit for the writer in the story.

The more I think about this movie the more I can't make up my mind about it. It's so hard to put feelings about it in words, but it's definitely positive. It sounds like the story is really trite and unoriginal, but it ended up really pulling me in. I enjoyed where the story took us, despite how predictable some parts were, and the way the ending came about was masterful. More than anything though: I think the movie just felt real. There are some movies like Kill Bill that are so fantastical that you don't imagine it in the realm of a real story, whereas the characters in Stranger Than Fiction and their interactions just seem so real. It took me a while to come up with this, but I decided on an A- for this one. I definitely didn't think it was a B movie, but I don't think it was fun enough to give an A+. It's a great watch though, just go in expecting to see a drama and you'll end up enjoying it.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

I was surprised by just how much I liked this one .. It was just thoroughly smart, and I was impressed with how much Mr. Ferrell was able to tone down his act without losing any of his comic timing