Stranger Than Fiction parents guide

Stranger Than Fiction Parent Guide

Overall B-

Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) literally lives life by the numbers. But this IRS auditor is about to have his obsessively organized world turned upside down when his life somehow becomes linked to the fictional protagonist in a novelist's (Emma Thompson) new book. A clever script with solid performances makes for entertaining viewing, although there are a few reasons why this movie may not be a novel idea for younger teens and children.

Release date November 9, 2006

Violence C+
Sexual Content C+
Profanity D+
Substance Use C+

Why is Stranger Than Fiction rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Stranger Than Fiction PG-13 for some disturbing images, sexuality, brief language and nudity.

Parent Movie Review

Harold Crick’s (Will Ferrell) life runs like clockwork. Every morning the methodical tax accountant counts his brush strokes as he cleans his teeth. He counts the time it takes to tie his tie. Then he leaves his beige colored apartment and counts his steps across the street on the way to work in a grey office cubicle.

But one day, while going through his morning schedule, he hears a voice in his head. A woman, with an English accent, begins narrating the activities of his life.

Little does he know, the voice belongs to Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a chain-smoking novelist who is suffering from writer’s block while trying to finish her latest book. Contemplating how to kill her hero, Kay visualizes suicide, automobile accidents and life-threatening injuries for Harold without realizing he is a real person. And as she puts her thoughts to paper, Harold hears her words in his mind.

At first the voice is only irritating and distracting. However, things change when Harold is sent to audit Ana (Maggie Gyllenhall), and falls in love with the young bakery owner. Reaching out in his own bumbling but sincere way, the socially clumsy accountant tries to express his interest in the outgoing, bohemian baker until he learns the invisible narrator is planning his imminent death. Suddenly agitated with the omnipotent director of his destiny, he seeks the help of a coffee-guzzling literary professor (Dustin Hoffman) as he tries to find a way to edit his story’s ending.

As would be the case with most of us, Harold’s mundane routine is considerably altered when faced with the reality of death. Unfortunately, in addition to the taxman’s life changing events, this fabricated tale contains excessive use of addictive substances, infrequent profanities, some brief male buttock nudity and an accident that results in bloody injuries. As well, the scriptwriters appear to be in a rush to get past the niceties of courtship and get Ana and Harold into bed.

Still, Stranger Than Fiction does offer a creative script with attention to detail and cast of quirky but loveable characters, while slyly poking fun at stuffy literary professionals who take their careers far too seriously. Giving older teens and adults a chance to reexamine the trivial details of their own lives, this film, in an odd sort of way, celebrates life while simultaneously trying to exterminate the hero.

Starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhall, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson. Theatrical release November 9, 2006. Updated

Stranger Than Fiction
Rating & Content Info

Why is Stranger Than Fiction rated PG-13? Stranger Than Fiction is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some disturbing images, sexuality, brief language and nudity.

Harold’s routine life turns topsy-turvy when he is sent to audit a young baker and he finds himself fantasizing about her naked body. Later they sleep together and are repetitively shown in bed. Meanwhile, the chain-smoking Kay Eiffel turns to alcohol while visualizing the death of her seemingly fictitious character. A bus accident results in serious injuries and blood-splattered pavement is shown. The script contains brief profanities as well as a sexual expletive and male buttock nudity portrayed in a non-sexual context.

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More parents' guide for Stranger Than Fiction after the break...

Stranger Than Fiction Parents' Guide

How does Harold’s daily activities change once he discovers he is about to die? What things would you pursue if you knew your death was imminent? What life ambitions would you want to accomplish?

Ana offers milk and warm cookies to Harold after a long day of work. What foods or activities comfort you after a difficult day?

How does the director use details like color, background settings and clothing choices to add to the characters’ personalities?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Stranger Than Fiction movie is February 26, 2007. Here are some details…

If you liked the movie Stranger than Fiction, then read the DVD! The film releases to the home entertainment market with deleted and extended scenes plus an anthology of featurettes. These include: Actors In Search Of A Story (Marc Forster discusses why each cast member was such an integral part of the film), Building The Team (director Marc Forster discusses the importance and contribution of each of his ?team? members), On Location in Chicago (an in-depth look at why Chicago was chosen as the place to shoot the film), Words on a Page (an interview with producer Lindsay Doran and writer Zach Helm), Picture a Number (a look at the special effects) and On The Set (a montage of funny on the set moments). Audio tracks are available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1) and French, with subtitles in English and French.

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Before playing Kay Eiffel’s assistant in this film, Queen Latifah plays a retail worker who decides to go on an extravagant vacation after learning she is terminally ill in Last Holiday. Dustin Hoffman also has a role in the story of an author who entertains a family of young boys with his invented tales of pirates and fairies in the movie Finding Neverland.