Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stranger than fiction

> Stranger than Fiction

>> Harold Crick (Will Farrell) is an IRS auditor who almost
> compulsively measures, quantifies and rationalizes his life.
> Suddenly, he becomes aware of a voice narrating his
> life, "accurately and with a better vocabulary." The voice is that
> of a writer we learn is struggling with writer's block (Emma
> Thompson), mostly about the best way to make Harold die. When Harold
> overhears his impending doom, he takes action, and eventually makes
> his way to a professor of literary theory (Dustin Hoffman), who
> helps him understand the implications of the narrative life he is
> leading. The main story line seems to be around a woman he is
> auditing, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Realizing he could die at any
> moment, Harold begins to break free of his limited, orderly life,
> and joins Gyllenhaal in a romantic relationship. He tracks down
> Thompson and confronts her with the truth: if she writes about his
> death, then he will die. But Hoffman is convinced the novel must be
> written as intended, and Thompson herself is ambivalent. Crick
> himself reads the novel and encourages her to keep the original
> ending, which would kill him.

Interesting; kind of reminds me of the real-life/fictional interaction between J.K.Rowling and Harry Potter. Since she had resolved, arbitrarily or not, to have no more than seven books in the series, in the seventh he came closer than ever to finally "dying" once and for all; this possibility really upset me, for one, as I would have liked to see HP "grow up" out of perpetual adolescence! J.K. herself seemed determined to kill him off, but her millions of child readers prevailed, and "saved" Harry from premature death; he also lives on, as per the end of the Deathly Hallows, in my Sims game! lol

So maybe Harry did also come to experience that kind of real-life/fictional transcendence, or liberation, which we also see in The Truman Show, in which Harold Crick's compulsion to "script" his own life is seen completely externalised in the "evil" (gnostic demiurge) director Christof; Truman himself also came perilously close to dying, in the "reality TV show of his life", remember, until he finally also managed to escape, by literally smashing through the boundary between fiction and real life... ;-))

Not as "funny" as some of Jim Carrey's other movies, but infinitely deeper, and I have always thought it some kind of gnostic epiphany in itself (my hubby thought so too, and he normally could not stand Jim Carrey!) ;-))

Another novel that explores the boundaries between reality and fiction is Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaardner, also for younger readers, the more philosophically inclined and/or the more philosophically inclined among younger readers! I for one have always wanted to write a sequel to Sophie's World, which for some reason I imagine as beginning on a plane, leaving Bangkok, where she finds herself seated next to Thomas Merton (!), bound for Alaska, where he always imagined his "ideal hermitage", and perhaps a bit of "northern exposure"...? hehe

Then again it might also be fun to make a sequel to the Truman Show, if more cinematically inclined; does Truman make it to Fiji, I wonder? And does he catch up with his childhood sweetheart, who helped him escape Christof, along with all of us, as we sat on the edges of our seats, rooting for him? ;-))

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