The wrist that must be watched. (Analysis of Marc Forster’s Stranger than Fiction)

stranger than fiction pic

Any of us will get irritated when somebody tells us what to do. “fix this” and “create that” seems to imply that other person is trying to gain control over you. But what if a voice is narrating your every move? will you get pissed about it? or will you calm down and seek the help of a mind expert? That’s what happened to Harold Crick, an IRS agent in Chicago and evidently living his life in a precise and controlled manner. He counts brush strokes every time he brushes his teeth, and count his steps whenever he cross the street to the bus stop. It all seems that his life is full of rules and is well-planned. And every single thing that he do, he always wear his wrist watch. Let’s pinpoint one by one the resemblance of the movie to reality. Harold is genius when it comes to numbers and a little incapable of socializing. This is often true than not to many of us. We excel in one field or two but definitely have our individual weaknesses. the voice, that Harold keeps hearing is the voice of Karen Eiffel, a writer who is currently experiencing writer’s block.

Any writer can relate to having a writer’s block. No matter how skilled and professional any person can be, there always comes a time where you can’t just seem to think of something to write and eventually, your skill in literature will be temporarily be at lost. Karen’s forte in writing is tragedy. and it seems that she’s is writing and narrating the life of Harold, and is planning to kill him in the end of her book.  Harold tries to go on his life despite of the irritating voice who just wont stop talking, he came across a baker, who intentionally didn’t pay her taxes. Ana Pascal, the baker, is now being audited by a man who is attracted to her. As a citizen of a state or country, it is our moral obligation to pay the taxes our government is requiring us to pay. We just have to be wise and vigilant in monitoring where does our government spend the said tax money. Then that same day, Harold’s watch abruptly stops working and he has to ask a bystander of the right time to reset his watch. Then the voice said, “little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death”. Totally stunned and completely worried about his death, Harold seek the help of a psychiatrist. This reflect on us whenever we experience or encounter things we just can’t logically explain.

We seek the help of an expert and try our best to go back to our normal routine. Then the scene where Harold is riding a bus and suddenly the voice introduced Ms. Pascal and the two have small talks. Harold was surprise and maybe confuse of their flirtatious encounter and decides to exit the bus 27 stops prior to his original destination and is left with no choice but to walk. This happens to us whenever we encounter our first crush or the person we like. We flirt a little and when it comes to worse, we even humiliate ourselves that can cause awkwardness between you and the other person. I think it is the lack of self-confident why most of us just choose to stay away from the person we like. And to avoid complications and confusions, we intentionally hurt them in order to save them from appending misunderstanding and chaos. A very weird way of showing affection I might say, but most of us if not all, is guilty in this.

The part where Harold is back at the bakery to continue auditing Ms. Pascal. And after an awkward and tiring day, Harold was just about to go home when Ana offered him cookies. Then it was revealed that Harold’s mom never prepared cookies and milk for him. It is a classic and may be funny analysis but in this scene, I realized that in any girl, it is natural to have a caring and warm heart. Ana Pascal was the mirror image of a mother in this scenario and Harold represents a kid who just had an exhausting day. It embodies that woman can naturally be a daughter, a girlfriend, a wife and eventually a mother. And that cycle continues no matter what the traditions and culture she have since childhood. As Harold continues to work with Jules, a literature professor, the two arrived at the idea where Harold will do all the things in reverse and see what happens. He didn’t go to work, didn’t count anything, and he sleeps in his couch. This scene constitutes in one point of our lives that we just don’t want to do the same thing anymore. We want to quit our job for no apparent reason, we want to punch someone just to know what it feels like. All those normal things we usually we do, we want to not do it anymore. Base on my personal experience, we come to this point because of severe boredom. When the time comes where we already master the things we do, our body starts looking for an adventure! An activity that will restart our minds and jump start the energy in our body. People who is in their field of work for so long now can relate to this.

My father always tells me that hes tired of his work and want to do something else. So i think that it is a healthy advise to invest in a couple of sports to help you channel all that negative ions all of us can get with our daily routine. When Harold’s apartment was nearly demolished because the wrecking crew mistook it as an abandoned one, Harold got the chance to really bond with his co-worker Dave. Anyone of us have this acquaintance. Whether your still a student or is now working, we encounter people very formally and after that, we never get the chance to truly know them and develop our friendships with them. I remember this classmate of mine during elementary days, sorry I’m just a kid back then, I didn’t know it was wrong. But I distinctly remember, I always ask him if he has an extra pencil every time we our teacher ask us to draw. And all the time, he will lend me one. Then as the school year ends, I never said anything to him! To be honest, I barely remember his name. I never got the chance to really get to know him because all i ever needed from him was a pencil. That, I think is the saddest reason why we fail to found the true people around us.

We just give enough attention to someone when we need something form them. Doesn’t matter if its a small favor or a pencil, its still the only reason why your talking to a stranger, a stranger who can be a true friend to you but you will never know that because you just didn’t get the chance to. Back to the film, Harold began his quest in completing one thing from his bucket list, to play the guitar. By far, this is my favorite part because it showcases that any individual needs music, and as a music lover and a guitarist, I became quite fond of this scene. Music help us relax and be at ease. It is hard to imagine the world without music. Even the most bashed music is very essential. Music serves as a manifestation of people’s lives that is express in a form  of art. It is part of who we are which explains why it is so easy for us to relate to it.

Then The must surreal thing happen, Harold finally found Karen with the use of her tax files and convince her to not kill him in her book. Then Karen told him that she already created an outline of his imminent death but didn’t write it down yet. She then give the outline to Harold which Harold passes to Jules for he doesn’t have the strength to read his end. Basically, any of us will do what Harold did. Just by knowing your about to die is already pretty nerve wracking, but to know the way its going to go down is too much for anyone to handle. Just imagine if you are in his shoes, fear will naturally take over.


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