A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that some kids will want to see this movie thanks to star Will Ferrell, although they may be disappointed because it's not his usual silly comedy routine. Instead, the film explores some fairly heavy concepts about life and death. Novelist Karen Eiffel is a depressed chain-smoker, and Harold Crick (Ferrell's character) is a loner who suffers severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What's the story?
The overly-organized life of IRS agent Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) turns upside down when he starts hearing the mysterious voice -- which he eventually learns belongs to Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson). The chain-smoking author is having trouble finishing her latest novel, which is about a guy named Harold Crick. And she can't figure out how to kill him off. As you might imagine, Harold seeks help. A psychiatrist (Linda Hunt) thinks medication is the answer. But a literary professor (Dustin Hoffman) has other ideas. He doesn't really believe Harold, but he advises him to figure out whether he's in a comedy or a tragedy. By this point, it's looking like the latter. Providing romantic (and somewhat unfriendly) tension is bakery owner Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who Harold is auditing. She hurls insults at him, and, in short, doesn't make his job any easier. Still, love blooms in odd places, and Harold finally has something to live for.
Is it any good?
STRANGER THAN FICTION is equal parts drama, comedy, and tragedy; it's a smart movie and a touching reminder that life is unpredictable and messy. But that's OK. We still need to live and not be afraid to experience new things. Some of the movie's best scenes are those of Harold branching out in the world.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the meaning of life. No, really. This movie is all about living life to the fullest and not sitting carefully on the sidelines while everyone else has all the fun. On the flip side, how can you have fun and experience new things but stay safe at the same time?
- In theaters: November 9, 2006
- On DVD or streaming: February 27, 2007
- Cast: Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Ferrell
- Director: Marc Forster
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some disturbing images, sexuality, brief language and nudity.
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