The Man with the Wristwatch – An analysis of Marc Forster’s “Stranger Than Fiction”

Life is like a movie, “they say”. The only difference is we don’t get to have awesome soundtracks and sometimes, it doesn’t end the way we want. I guess the thing that draws us to watch movies is because we can relate to the stories even though some films are so unlikely to happen in real life. And also, movies can teach us a thing or two about life and how to live it well.

Everybody knows that your life is a story. Life is beautiful. But there are those who see life as a challenge. Our life is full of happiness, and full of regrets. We were born to be real – not to be perfect.

Life is short, that’s why should be happy, Nobody’s perfect. Because, as a person we are created by God. Everyone has their own life and perception. We have a choice, rights, and we have freedom. As a person we need to be open minded to the likeliness and perception of the world.

Stranger Than Fiction is the story about a man named Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) was a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations and incredibly few words and a lonely tax inspector.

It is about the man who describes how life is a story, how life is full of interesting events, and how it is important. In our everyday life all people has their own task and goals in life. Harold Crick is a man who symbolizes of focus on numbers as opposed to emotions. His life is not as complete as he thoughts, because he counts the number of times he brushes his tooth, the number of steps to his bus stop and so on.

He is an average guy who does everything perfectly. He has a routine for everything in his life. Harold values shift, adding more compassion and love, and a more care free attitude. Harold chose to embrace his fate, and make the most of every opportunity he had in his present life. One day while Harold is brushing his teeth, the voice of a woman starts narrating his every move. The voice describes every one of Harold’s actions in detail and is present throughout Harold’s work day, until she announces Harold is going to have a dramatic death soon. Harold searches high and low for a possible explanation to the mystery narrator. He goes to everyone from a psychiatrist to a writer and along the way finds love, despair, and, finally, the answer to this “stranger than fiction” phenomenon.

It has scenes that can really happen in reality it possible right?. It has an emotional adventure of romance and tragedy. I highly recommend it to any  type of audience. It is the perfect way to start or end your day – makes you sit on the edge of your seat and really get into it. Also one of the best movies I have seen in a long time.

Life as narrative is not a new idea. One theory of psychology puts forward the provocative proposition that we are all storytellers of our own tale and we shape our circumstances, relationships, and choices to fulfill what we think is a satisfying story. One question that confronts Harold is whether he is in a comedy or a tragedy. The big difference here is that Harold’s life narrative, instead of being internal as with most of us, is external, disembodied, and seemingly dispassionate.

An irony in this movie is that, in many ways, the perspectives of narrator and character are reversed. Ana Pascal is introduced at the beginning of the movie as a tough, strong headed individual. She has no problem not conforming by avoiding to pay her taxes – has a strong beliefs. Throughout the entire movie, Harold is never without his wristwatch. Immediately the audience notices that Harold’s entire day, and ultimately his entire life up to this point, is divided up into timed intervals of going through the motions of life, however, not truly living.

The exact routine in which Harold has scheduled for his day-to-day life is managed by his wristwatch, and does not allow for much, if any, variation from routine. As Harold begins to lose control over his once very disciplined and systematic life, it appears as if his wristwatch has actually developed a loyalty to Harold and continues to lookout for him.

Throughout the film, we see Harold faced with the inability to control his fate. With the precisely set time of his wristwatch everything seems to be under Harold’s immediate control and he is able to see his future. Yet when only a few minutes are wrongly given to Harold to reset his wristwatch, his for seeable fate seems to falter. Harold quickly realizes that his life is now under higher control, and that he must begin to accept that his fate is uncontrollable. Only when Harold can accept that his future is left up to fate, he can find true happiness and freedom within his life. It is amazing how life’s simple lessons can be narrated in so many imaginative ways. If you rip Stranger Than Fiction to its core, you would find it is not just a story.

It is a parable with an age old being its moral. Harold Crick (Ferrell) needs a life altering event to break out of his meaningless lifestyle and that event arrives in the most unreal form. The movie is another one of quite a few Hollywood Movies that fantasy in the storyline to make the message more realistic. He has a good paying job and a pretty nice apartment. Normally we would think he has his life together and he thinks so too until he realized he’s about to die.

“Death changes people. Knowing that you don’t have enough time to laugh, live and love more people will definitely make you go your way to do the things you’ve been meaning to do before you die.”

If we all knew when we are going to die, none of us would stay at the jobs we hated and we would all just live life the way we always want it to be. Life is short and we can only do so much for ourselves and for others to make our lives worthwhile so we might as well do it while we still can.  The whole story became all about Harold and his death, when the makers of the film could have find a way to deepen the story and made it about others around him, and how His entire life – change brings about a complete change in those around him, including the two main figures directly involved in his accident and death.

His problem was not that he was always keeping his eye on the time, it’s that he spends most of his time on the wrong things. The wristwatch was not the problem, but actually served as a reminder to spend his precious minutes on the right things.

The movie ends with two surprisingly strong messages that are impossible to find fault with. Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Both Him and the author of his character, Kay Eiffel are put to this test.

In Matthew 16:25, Jesus states: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?”

God longs to send this message to mankind and strangely enough, the secular movie “Stranger Than Fiction” gives us a small glimpse of this beautiful truth. I know that the quotes about life here are mostly mentioned. But, it is exactly on how the movie goes and it settles for it’s value.


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