This weekend I watched a movie I had always wanted to see. Ironically, I received the movie as a Christmas gift, having never seen it and now after watching it feel as though it should be on my list of top 10 favorites.
The movie Stranger Than Fiction, about a man with a mundane life discovers he has a narrator to his life and that the author/narrator of his life is planning to kill him off, possibly soon. Now what does he do? Such an interesting idea, because I have wondered if I had a biographical movie, who would be the narrator? Or what are the tunes to the soundtrack of my life. Or how would others talk about me at my funeral.
But more than that. This movie was a sheer pleasure, because of the script and the clever, well thought out writing which was then served by an all-star cast who to my delight were cast in roles outside their normal expectation. Will Ferrell, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Queen Latifah and a few other you may recognize.
In trying to discover a way to describe this film to my friends I thought this is not particular type of film but a comedic tragedy, then I realized by every sense of the phrase this was really a tragic comedy. And yes the order makes a huge difference. But it’s just that type of difference that makes the writing in this film so insightful. Another element of this film that was truly unique and spoke to me was it’s form. As the main character Harold Crick moves through his daily activities a GUI is blended into the film in a non-intrusive way that represents all of the mundane routines he calculates throughout that day. I loved this, since I spend so much of my day trying to discover ways to create visualization for people’s experience. (I’m a UI designer). Lastly, the soundtrack truly served the story, the storytelling and the form.
If you’ve seen the movie, you can probably guess what I mean. If you haven’t this probably sounds a little over the top and vague. If you’re going to watch this movie, make sure you have the time to pay attention and watch whole thing. (that’s for all you out there in familyland with kids)
If you haven’t seen it, stop reading right now. Cause I’m going to ruin it for you.
I’m sorry, but it’s the only way I think I can communicate what I got from the film is to quote the end summation.
“…Sometimes, when we loose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And fortunately when there aren’t any cookies we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or some encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys, and nose plugs, an uneaten danish, soft spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties which we assume only accessorize our days are in fact here for a much larger and nobler cause, they are here to save our lives…”
It’s wisdom like this that makes you thankful for, things like tomato pie, seeing old things with new eyes, and every interaction you have with friends, family and strangers throughout the day. My theme for 2008 so far is Gratitude makes every day great. You may still worry, you may still fear, but gratitude allows you to recognize the larger and nobler cause the nuances in our life create.
Check out this clip of the last 6 minutes of the film.