Top 5000
Down 59 this week

Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  10 November 2006 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 178,820 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 523 user | 250 critic | 35 from

An IRS auditor suddenly finds himself the subject of narration only he can hear: narration that begins to affect his entire life, from his work, to his love-interest, to his death.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Video


Fall TV: 15 Returning TV Shows Worth Binge Watching

Which returning shows do we recommend binging on? We've picked out 15 great options for you. Read this and more lists in our Fall TV section.

Read our list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 25 Apr 2011
a list of 23 titles
created 28 Jun 2012
a list of 24 titles
created 18 Jul 2012
a list of 27 titles
created 25 Oct 2012
a list of 21 titles
created 26 Aug 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

Stranger Than Fiction (2006) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Stranger Than Fiction.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, Maria Bello
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

When an alcoholic relapses, causing him to lose his wife and his job, he holds a yard sale on his front lawn in an attempt to start over. A new neighbor might be the key to his return to form.

Director: Dan Rush
Stars: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, Christopher Jordan Wallace
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of the movie star, John Malkovich.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener
50/50 (2011)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.

Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Stars: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear
Adaptation. (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Director: Spike Jonze
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper
Semi-Pro (2008)
Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Jackie Moon, the owner-coach-player of the American Basketball Association's Flint Michigan Tropics, rallies his teammates to make their NBA dreams come true

Director: Kent Alterman
Stars: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, André Benjamin
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it.

Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, George Clooney
Action | Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

#1 NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby stays atop the heap thanks to a pact with his best friend and teammate, Cal Naughton, Jr. But when a French Formula One driver, makes his way up the ladder, Ricky Bobby's talent and devotion are put to the test.

Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Sacha Baron Cohen
The Campaign (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An incumbent congressman embroiled in personal scandal faces a no-holds-barred challenge from a naive newcomer funded by two unscrupulous billionaire lobbyist brothers.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudeikis
Step Brothers (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Two aimless middle-aged losers still living at home are forced against their will to become room-mates when their parents marry.

Director: Adam McKay
Stars: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen
Juno (2007)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner


Cast overview, first billed only:
Guy Massey ...
Martha Espinoza ...
T.J. Jagodowski ...
Ricky Adams ...
Young Boy
Young Boy's Father
Denise Hughes ...
Kronecker Bus Driver
Peggy Roeder ...
Polish Woman
Danny Rhodes ...
Bakery Employee #1
Helen Young ...
Bakery Customer #1


Everybody knows that your life is a story. But what if a story was your life? Harold Crick is your average IRS agent: monotonous, boring, and repetitive. But one day this all changes when Harold begins to hear an author inside his head narrating his life. The narrator it is extraordinarily accurate, and Harold recognizes the voice as an esteemed author he saw on TV. But when the narration reveals that he is going to die, Harold must find the author of the story, and ultimately his life, to convince her to change the ending of the story before it is too late. Written by the lexster

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Truth is stranger than fiction. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some disturbing images, sexuality, brief language and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 November 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Killing Harold Crick  »

Box Office


$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,411,093 (USA) (10 November 2006)


£824,082 (UK) (15 December 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The novel which Karen Eiffel is writing is called "Death and Taxes". This is a reference to the famous quote, "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes," written by Benjamin Franklin in a 1789 letter addressed to Jean-Baptiste Leroy. See more »


Harold's apartment is partially destroyed by a front-end loader with hydraulic forks hooked to it. When Professor Hilbert talks to Harold in the next scene he mentions it being hit by a wrecking ball. See more »


Penny Escher: And I suppose you smoked all these cigarettes?
Kay Eiffel: No, they came pre-smoked.
Penny Escher: Yeah, they said you were funny.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, the names of the characters and the actors who played them were displayed against stylized images of the places where the characters worked. See more »


Features Winged Migration (2001) See more »


Vittorio E
Written by Britt Daniel
Performed by Spoon
Courtesy of Merge Records
By Arrangement with Bank Robber Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Clever intellectual wizardry
9 December 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

What if you only realised the importance of your life only days before you lost it? Even knowing when or how you will die (not such a fatuous idea with the completion of the Genome Project) raises difficult questions about how much we really want to know about ourselves.

Such a theme is usually simplified and subsumed into religious-based tales such as It's a Wonderful Life, but taken as an idea in its own right it has considerable intellectual weight. Harold Crick finds himself the main character in a story as it unfolds, but his annoyance quickly shifts gear as he is aware of the author saying, "Little did he know . . . it would lead to his imminent death."

Not the mindless comedy that the trailer suggests, Stranger Than Fiction is a precise and fairly cerebral story where the laughs stem more from individually appreciating certain aspects of its cleverness rather than any contrived humour.

The surface story is of a man who lives a humdrum if 'successful' life and is awakened to a more three dimensional existence by falling in love. The additional elements will either delight or annoy. IRS auditor Crick (Will Ferrell) starts hearing a voice in his head. It is that of Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a famous author. She describes exactly what he is doing but with a rather better vocabulary than he possesses. When she announces his imminent death, he takes drastic steps to meet her and persuade her to change the ending of her novel.

The characterisation, casting and acting is spot-on. Thompson is at her most refreshingly deranged as the harassed and reclusive author. With a literary equivalence of method acting, Eiffel balances on the edge of her desk trying to imagine the thoughts of someone about to make a suicide jump. She sits in the freezing drizzle watching cars cross a bridge to imagine an accident. Her rants at her 'editorial assistant' (who uses more traditional methods of accessing imagination) give a convincing insight into the creative process. While the voice in Crick's head is stereotypical Thompson, the fuller, isolated character, when we meet her, is a minor revelation. "I don't need a nicotine patch," she declaims angrily to her assistant. "I smoke cigarettes."

Maggie Gyllenhaal, as law drop-out turned baker Ana Pascal, sparkles, glows and is sexily alluring and radiant with passionate love of life - and she manages to light up the screen faster than, say, even Juliette Binoche in Chocolat. Dustin Hoffman has the least challenging of the main parts, but he endows his character (an eminent professor of literature) with the gravitas needed to take ideas of literary interconnectedness seriously. Will Ferrell gives a remarkable break-out performance in a straight role, reminiscent of Jim Carrey in The Truman Show. He is superbly suited to the part as audiences expect him to be a shallow comedy character and here he is trying the find the substantial person inside himself. Most of the audience are concentrating so much on the film's intricate hypothesis and how it is worked out, that only afterwards do we realise what a range of emotions Ferrell has to portray with complete seriousness.

Novelist Kay Eiffel (Thompson) anthropomorphises things like Crick's watch (similarly the official website says, in real time, "As the cursor waited anxiously for the site to load, it couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of elation.") We sense a life-imbuing process that might even be likened to what an actor does with his character; but the film goes a stage further by drawing a similarity with the essentially lifeless, clockwork existence of the IRS auditor whose only escape is discovering love with Pascal. His quest is aided by fictional plot analysis from Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) and of course begs the question, what is fiction?

Director Marc Forster showed consummate skill in portraying the positive escapism of JM Barrie's creative Peter-Pan-writing in Finding Neverland. With Stranger Than Fiction, he has teamed up with brilliant new dramatist Zach Helm. Helm is fascinated with the writing process in what he calls a larger Post-Modern movement. "From Pirandello, to Brecht, to Wilder, to Stoppard, to Woody Allen to Wes Anderson, we can see the progression of a contemporary, self-aware, reality-bending and audience-involving wave in dramatic literature," he says. "I love to see Homer Simpson reacting to his creator, Matt Groenig, or the cast of 'Urinetown' complaining from the stage about their own title."

Even the street names, business names, and the characters' last names of Stranger Than Fiction are significant – Crick, Pascal, Eiffel, Escher, Banneker, Kronecker, Cayly, etc. are all puns on mathematicians who focused on the innate order of things. The invitation is to ask what is beyond the symmetry of things.

Stranger Than Fiction meets even its most formidable challenge - making the ending nail-biting and moving after such surreal content. But the ultimate message of the film seems a little trite if it is supposedly coming from a groundbreaking author. Like the glimpses of Eiffel's book, we are given impressive mountains of style but little substance. As the film doesn't press the strengths forcefully by admitting in so many words what it is getting at, there is a chance you may not bother with the subtleties - in which case it adds up to very little.

A superb testament to inventiveness and worthy of awards in many different categories, Stranger Than Fiction somehow falls short of being a masterpiece.

92 of 113 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
'I bought you flours' thedrells-1
Was anyone annoyed with the first Maggie/Will scene? bevans1289
What if Karen did this savair1
Change his character's name. Done pres-999-299763
Not once did anyone question WHY this was happening stick500
This May Go Down as a Classic KindredSouls
Discuss Stranger Than Fiction (2006) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: