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The Number 23 (2007)

R  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  23 February 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 156,373 users  
Reviews: 380 user | 224 critic

Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him. As his obsession increases, more and more similarities seem to arise.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Suicide Blonde / Mrs. Dobkins / Young Fingerling's Mother
Laura Tollins
Kyle Flinch
Hotel Clerk
Sergeant Burns
Father Sebastian
Walter Soo Hoo ...
Chinese Restaurant Owner
Dr. Alice Mortimer


On his birthday, Walter Sparrow, an amiable dog-catcher, takes a call that leaves him dog bit and late to pick up his wife. She's browsed in a bookstore, finding a blood-red-covered novel, a murder mystery with numerology that loops constantly around the number 23. The story captivates Walter: he dreams it, he notices aspects of his life that can be rendered by "23," he searches for the author, he stays in the hotel (in room 23) where events in the novel took place, and he begins to believe it was no novel. His wife and son try to help him, sometimes in sympathy, sometimes to protect him. Slowly, with danger to himself and to his family, he closes in on the truth. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The truth will find you. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Número 23  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,206,087 (UK) (23 February 2007)


$35,063,732 (USA) (23 March 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The author of the book's 'name' was Topsy Kretts which, if pronounced quickly, sounds like 'Top Secrets' See more »


When Walter is first trying to catch Ned (the dog) behind the Chinese restaurant, the way that his stick-thing is positioned changes from the shots in front and behind him. See more »


[first lines]
Walter Sparrow: A week ago, the only thing I thought was out of the ordinary was that it was my birthday.
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Cruisin' 57 (2015) See more »


The Banality of Evil
Written by David Sylvian and Burnt Friedman (as Bernd Friedmann)
Performed by Nine Horses
Courtesy of Samadhisound LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Strange, Dark Psychological Thriller
15 October 2009 | by (Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

I watched this by accident. I was looking for another movie, a comedy about a man who thinks he's a character in a novel (which turns out to be STRANGER THAN FICTION). Comedy, Jim Carrey, I thought this had to be it. I was wrong, and boy, am I glad I goofed.

Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, a fairly ordinary-seeming man, an animal control officer whose wife Aggie (played by Virginia Madsen) happens to buy him what seems to be the only copy of a self-published novel, THE NUMBER 23. But as Walter reads the book, the story of a homicide detective named Fingerling, he finds the character reminding him of himself. As he reads of the character Fingerling's descent into obsession and madness, he becomes increasingly disturbed himself, and goes hunting for the pseudononymous author, determined to find out what it all means. The answer uncovers a dark secret involving a murder committed over a decade ago, and alters the lives of Walter and his family permanently.

I won't say more, it would give away too much, but I found this wonderfully acted, beautifully written, and altogether involving. Carrey excellently plays both Walter Sparrow and Dec. Fingerling (in scenes from the novel shown as Carrey reads it), Madsen shines as loving housewife Aggie and novel character Fabrizia, and the supporting players turn in excellent performances, particularly Lynn Collins as the novel character Suicide Blond. The photography is frequently dark and threatening, which fits the plot, the sets are marvelous, and the climax is perfect.

I hope Carrey does more serious roles. This movie proves he's not just a funny rubber face.

22 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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