Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

published October 19, 2007

I am sure everyone has felt it — that desperate feeling that your life is not your own. You lie down in bed, wishing that whoever that Writer of your story is would just spice things up a little. It’s a blah day, or worse, a blah month.

For everyone who has ever felt that sense of quiet desperation, something you can’t miss on a blah Saturday night is Stranger than Fiction. Written by Zach Helm and directed by Marc Forster, the American comedy-drama will give you something to think about.

Set in a generic American town, the story is about Harold Crick, an IRS agent hated by tax evaders and taxpayers alike, who lives his life by the dictates of his Timex watch. Each morning, he wakes up, brushes his teeth 76 times, changes and hurries to catch the same 8:17 a.m. Kronecker bus. He goes to work. He goes home. His life is literally clockwork.

Until one day, he hears a voice in his head, his Narrator, verbalizing his every act and thought. Who among us really take the time to listen to our thoughts? If we could hear, loudly and clearly, each thought that passes through our heads, we would all be surprised.

This was what Harold felt upon hearing his every innermost — even passing — thought.

One day, Harold is assigned to audit tax deviant baker Ana Pascal, a rebel out to save the world one cookie at a time. He imperceptibly starts to fall in love.

His Narrator says, “Little did he know that this seemingly innocuous act would lead to his imminent death.” Without a doubt, Harold knew he would face Death. And, in the face of his imminent mortality, Harold faces himself, his life and starts his journey.

The 2006 movie is perfect for the times you catch yourself thinking, “What is this life all about?” The movie isn’t a hard sell. You can take it as it is — a frolic into the realm of someone else’s what if. Or you can let it get to you, helping you face the hard questions no one has time to answer like: What do you do if you only had x amount of hours to live? What would you change? What would you stop procrastinating to do?

The movie, though screened for only a limited time in the Philippines, has attracted an unusual mix of talent (Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma Thompson) each with his own unique blend of quirk and normalcy.

Audiences will be impressed by Ferrell’s subtle performance as well as the seamless storytelling embedded within the plot.

So, if you’re up for something less than ordinary, this is your movie. Enjoy.


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