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Stranger Than Fiction

Maggie’s Character: Ana Pascal
Release Date: 5 October 2006 (USA)
Directed By: Marc Forster
Screenwriter: Zach Helm
Genre: Comedy | Drama | Fantasy | Romance
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images, sexuality, brief language and nudity.
Runtime: 113 min.
Box Office #’s: here

Cast Highlights:
Will Ferrell
Emma Thompson
Dustin Hoffman
Queen Latifah

For twelve years, the methodical IRS agent Harold Crick has had a routine lonely life guided by his wristwatch. However, one day he hears the narration of his life in off, telling that he is going to die pretty soon. Meanwhile, he audits Ana Pascal, the owner of a bakery that is in debt with the IRS, and falls in love for her. Harold is advised by Professor Jules Hilbert to change his monotonous lifestyle while he tries to find Karen Eiffel, the author of the story of his life, who is researching means of killing the character, and convince her to change the ending of the story.

From the Gallery

Trailer

Trivia

  • Emma Thompson wore no makeup.
  • The movie Harold watches at the theater is The Meaning of Life (1983).
  • The watch featured in the movie is a Timex Men’s Watch #T56371 – Ironman Triathlon 42 Lap Combo Dual Tech, though in the film, the watches LCD display is CG enhanced to present clearer graphics. The actual watch is a simple 9 segment per character LCD alphanumeric mode display with three lines and some special-indicators.
  • The guitar chosen by Harold is a Fender Stratocaster.
  • The name of Ana Pascal’s bakery is “The Uprising”.
  • When Harold is asked the product of 67 and 453, he actually gives the correct answer, 30351, the first time. His second answer of 31305 is incorrect.
  • The guitar that the narrator describes as saying “Why yes, these pants are Lycra” is a Gibson Flying V Korina. The white one next to it is a normal Flying V.
  • The last names of all the characters (and the bus line and publishing firm names) are the names of mathematicians, scientists, engineers, artists, etc. (Harold) Francis Crick: with Watson and Wilkins found the structure of DNA; (Ana) Blaise Pascal: French mathematician and philosopher; (Karen) Gustave Eiffel: engineer and designer of the Eiffel Tower; (Penny) M.C. Escher: Dutch graphic artist; (Dr.) Magnus Gustaf Mittag-Leffler: Swedish mathematician; (Professor Jules) David Hilbert: German mathematician; (Doctor) Gerardus Mercator: 16th century Flemish cartographer; (Kronecker Bus Line) Leopold Kronecker: German-born mathematician and logician; (Banneker Press) Benjamin Banneker: free African American mathematician, astronomer, clockmaker, and publisher; (Dr. Cayly) Arthur Cayley, 19th century British mathematician. Even Dave (no last name) seems to be a reference to the main character from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Could these be the ‘heroes’ of the writer?
  • The book that Professor Hilbert is reading on the lifeguard stand is Sue Grafton’s “I is for Innocent.”
  • The movie that Will and Maggie are watching the night before Harold’s fateful encounter with the bus is Un homme et une femme (1966).
  • Other small math and science references are slipped in, such as references to “Euclid Street” – a reference to Euclidian Geometry, and the Spoon Song “My Mathematical Mind,” which plays during a sequence near the end of the film.
  • In an early scene, on-screen graphics appear that resemble an image used to illustrate the golden ratio. In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio between the sum of those quantities and the larger one is the same as the ratio between the larger one and the smaller. This ratio can be expressed as a mathematical constant, usually denoted by the Greek letter Phi.
  • The movie makes several references to RenĂ© Magritte’s painting “Son of Man”. Once when he is running to the bus stop with the green apple in his mouth, and again when he is talking to the doctor at the office sitting in front of a wall painted with clouds.
  • In the ending, where the Karen Eiffel is leaning on Professor’s Hilbert book case you can see that there are several books about cooking, like “Plain Cooking”, “Electric Blender Recipies”, “A Year of Diet Desserts”, “Cooking and Brownies” and “The Slim Gourmet Book”.
  • While filming, Will Ferrell had an earpiece that fed him Emma Thompson’s narrative line in order to assist the other actors react more naturally to Ferrell’s seemingly non-sequitur lines.
  • The guitar that the narrator describes as saying “I’m compensating for something. Guess what?” is a Cherry Gibson EDS-1275, the guitar made famous by Jimmy Page.
  • Dustin Hoffman’s character (Professor Hilbert) creates a questionnaire of 23 items for Will Ferrell’s character (Harold Crick). Professor David Hilbert, the German mathematician, proposed a famous list 23 problems at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris in 1900. Hilbert’s problems became so famous that they are typically referred to by number among mathematicians and philosophers and several are still unanswered.
  • The cigarettes that Emma Thompson smokes are American Spirits.
  • Harold’s two co-workers, played by T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz, appear together in a series of commercials for Sonic Drive-In.
  • The title of the movie comes from a famous Mark Twain quote; “truth is stranger than fiction, but this is because fiction is obliged to stick to probability; truth is not.”
  • Whenever Dr. Hilbert meets Harold Crick, he is always eating or drinking.
  • In the scene just after Harold’s flat gets demolished, and Professor Hilbert advises Harold to go live his life, Professor Hilbert hums “Rule Britannia” as he walks away from Harold.
  • In the scene where Professor Hilbert is speaking to Harold in his classroom, there is a list on the chalkboard behind him of four characters from The Alexandria Quartet, a four-book set of novels by British writer Lawrence Durrell, published between 1957 and 1960.

Character Quotes

Ana Pascal: Damn it! Damn it! Damn it! You miscreant!
Harold Crick: I understand.
Ana Pascal: Oh, get bent, TAXMAN!
[Ana’s customers boo and jeer Harold mercilessly]