Walter Sparrow becomes obsessed with a novel that he believes was written about him, as more and more similarities between himself and his literary alter ego seem to arise.


Joel Schumacher
4,834 ( 346)
5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Carrey ... Walter Sparrow / Fingerling
Virginia Madsen ... Agatha Sparrow / Fabrizia
Logan Lerman ... Robin Sparrow
Danny Huston ... Isaac French / Dr. Miles Phoenix
Lynn Collins ... Suicide Blonde / Mrs. Dobkins / Young Fingerling's Mother
Rhona Mitra ... Laura Tollins
Michelle Arthur ... Sybil
Mark Pellegrino ... Kyle Flinch
Paul Butcher ... Young Fingerling / Young Walter
David Stifel ... Hotel Clerk
Corey Stoll ... Sergeant Burns
Ed Lauter ... Father Sebastian
Troy Kotsur ... Barnaby
Walter Soo Hoo Walter Soo Hoo ... Chinese Restaurant Owner
Patricia Belcher ... 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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


(at around 23 mins) The apartment across from the suicide blonde is 959. 9+5+9=23. See more »


(at around 1h 3 mins) On Dr. Sirius Leary's ID badge he is shown as a "Phd."- the correct abbreviation is Ph.D. (from Latin for Doctor of Philosophy). 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 »

Alternate Versions

Unrated version runs 3-4 minutes longer. See more »


Featured in The Number 23: Creating the World of Fingerling (2007) See more »


Tear You Apart
Written by Justin Warfield and Adam Bravin
Performed by She Wants Revenge
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

Red. Blood Red.
24 July 2013 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

The Number 23 is directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Fernley Phillips. It stars Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins and Rhona Mitra. Music is by Harry Gregson-Williams and cinematography by Matthew Libatique.

Walter Sparrow (Carrey) becomes obsessed with a novel that he comes to believe is written about him. As his obsession increases and the number 23 comes into play, the similarities arise and danger lurks at every corner.

Topsy Kretts at A Novel Fate.

A tough film to recommend with confidence, as the most divisive critical notices would suggest, The Number 23 is for some a genuinely intriguing movie with style to burn. The complex narrative structure, visual styles, gumshoe type narration and nods to classic era noir movies, certainly makes this more of interest to noir fans than your average horror/thriller seeker. The premise of the 23 enigma is quite a hook, especially for the conspiracy theorists out there, while the blending of paranoia and distortion of reality really puts a bleakness over the plotting to keep it edgy. Unfortunately much of it doesn't hold up under scrutiny, big leaps of faith are needed and the finale fizzles out in a whimper. But mostly it's thought provoking for the right reasons.

Suicide Blonde.

Visually it's a most arresting piece. The present world inhabited by Walter and his family is filled with bold reds and greens, while his flashback world, where he is detective Fingerling, is full of oblique decor, high contrast lighting and skewed angles. Carrey came in for some criticism, but he sits the role(s) well, especially as Walter's mind starts to fracture. Everyone else is up to scratch with par performances, while Williams provides a score that mixes eerie foreboding with the rumbles of psychological unease. There's much strange about the whole production, a sort of trippy/feverish dream where the editing jolts you out of the comfort zone and begs you to be involved in solving the mystery of The Number 23.

Not for everyone, obviously, and it asks a lot of forgiveness for its faults. Yet there is a better film here than I was led to believe it was. Perhaps for you as well? 7/10

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 428 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »


Official Sites:




English | Chinese

Release Date:

23 February 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Number 23 See more »

Filming Locations:

Pasadena, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,107,000, 25 February 2007

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (extended)

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed