Stranger Than Fiction - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stranger Than Fiction Reviews

Top Critic
Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
The actors and the filmmakers all take a more restrained approach than you might expect, keeping the humor gentle, and the jokes mostly as literary as the premise.
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
February 3, 2007
An uncommonly plastic bit of Hallmark sentiment-mongering, with exactly the kind of New Age psychobabble ending youâ(TM)d expect.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/6
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
November 15, 2006
A film well worth seeing and savoring.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 10, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction seems like an old episode of the Twilight Zone, and the idea would have worked better as one of Rod Serling's half-hour epistles on human foibles.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
November 10, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction is both about a novel and like a novel; you eagerly await the turning of the pages.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
November 10, 2006
It doesn't coast on its premise but follows where it leads, which is into some serious territory. What might have been a joke with a tagged-on sentimental ending becomes instead a sensitive movie that affirms the value of life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 10, 2006
Willfully eccentric, odd in tone, it is an English major's comedy, a wry exploration of plot, narrative, character and a writer's imprint on her or his work.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Lisa Rose
Newark Star-Ledger
November 10, 2006
It seems like the screenwriter may have suffered a shortage of ideas and remedied the problem by watching Charlie Kaufman films.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 10, 2006
With its musings on free will and God, the story may not be original, but caring about its hero is automatic for the audience. That's more than most movies can say.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
November 10, 2006
It has a nifty premise and outstanding performances from Ferrell, as the protagonist-in-progress, and Emma Thompson, as his blocked creator.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
November 10, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction may not be the typical crowd-pleaser, but it's a sweet, funny, intelligent film that showcases just how much Ferrell can do, even when he's doing less.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
November 10, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction might be film, but it moves like a novel: a literate, unhurried tale marked by softly wrought reflections on the self-made life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 10, 2006
So, in lieu of the usual cookie-cutter movie, we at least get the cookie itself, a nice-light treat.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
November 10, 2006
A wondrously funny modern fairy tale, Stranger than Fiction manages to blend romance, satire and fantasy into a story that's both fully satisfying and patently absurd.
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
November 10, 2006
A comedy that takes itself too seriously to be truly enjoyed.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
November 10, 2006
[Director Marc] Forster's sweetly engaging concoction bends our minds without too much strain, and even those moments that feel mildly familiar never breed anything close to contempt.
| Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
November 10, 2006
Will Ferrell delivers a moving and surprisingly delicate -- though not so surprisingly funny -- turn as the lonesome bureaucrat bedeviled by a voice only he hears.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
November 10, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction is uptight. [Writer Zach] Helm is clearly pro-love and happy endings, but he's short on loose, fresh ideas.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
November 10, 2006
Besides being inventive and witty, Stranger Than Fiction is a tribute to the power of literature. But art is not its only domain. It also delves into the world of ultimate certainties: death and taxes.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
November 10, 2006
While Stranger Than Fiction traffics in a bit of darkly funny existential anxiety, it also finds room for romantic fantasy and sentimental uplift.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 10, 2006
Take a cool premise, a smart director and a top-flight cast, then throw an ex-TV sketch comedy knucklehead into the mix - and voila, a thinking person's dramedy that grapples with issues of fate and free will, love and liberation. Look out, Oscars.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
November 10, 2006
If Stranger Than Fiction has a central flaw, it's overly sentimental. Although the story would work better as a tragedy, Forster and Helm can't resist tacking on a mushy love story, involving Crick and combative tax cheat Ana Pascal.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 10, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction is a meditation on life, art and romance, and on the kinds of responsibility we have. Such an uncommonly intelligent film does not often get made.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 9, 2006
For all of the film's narrative intricacies, it's love in bloom that carries the day.
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
November 9, 2006
The picture is an overworked trifle: There's so much going on in it that it becomes hard to care about anything that's going on in it.
Top Critic
Kevin Crust
Los Angeles Times
November 9, 2006
It manages to be smart and surprising and provides this season of serious movies with a much-needed shot of whimsy.
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
November 9, 2006
Yes, Stranger Than Fiction is a head trip. But it's a very friendly one, and well crafted at that.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
November 9, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction is no Eternal Sunshine. But if you can look past its clunky attempt to be exactly that, there's great pleasure in watching Ferrell, like Harold, turn into someone you never knew he could be.
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
November 9, 2006
It's not the original story we signed up for -- or thought we did.
Top Critic
Gene Seymour
Newsday
November 9, 2006
Sometimes I think movies like Stranger Than Fiction don't experiment with narrative and character as much as cop out on them.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 9, 2006
There's no joy in seeing Ferrell play an office drone, and the life lessons he learns are of the "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" variety.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
November 9, 2006
Movies with terrific ideas are a rare commodity in Hollywood. The idea behind Stranger Than Fiction is the kind of Charlie Kaufmanesque conceit that sounds a lot better than the way it's played out.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Hap Erstein
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 9, 2006
Stranger Than Fiction is the most original comedy of the year, a mind-bending tale with one foot in the real world and the other in pure fiction.
| Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
November 9, 2006
[Stranger Than Fiction] springs to life whenever it drops the cute Pirandello-like premise and focuses on the simple business of Ferrell finding love.
| Original Score: B
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
November 9, 2006
[Stranger than Fiction] teems with ideas both literary and existential, which might make it unbearably precious, were it not redeemed by woozy charm and some serious acting from Will Ferrell.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
November 8, 2006
There's no denying the movie has a surface allure.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Jim Ridley
Village Voice
November 7, 2006
[The] performances succeed where Harold fails: gaining a life independent of their author.
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
November 6, 2006
The movie is clever, but a little too pleased with its own clockwork intricacy.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
November 6, 2006
Crisp, eccentric and exhilarating.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 6, 2006
It takes a great premise and runs with it, neither wasting opportunities nor going off on tangents. It features strong work from both the main and supporting actors, and manages seamlessly to incorporate both humor and poignancy.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
November 2, 2006
This is a Ferrell you've never seen before, nailing a role that calls for breakneck humor in the final race against the clock and touching gravity in the love scenes with Gyllenhaal.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic

Time Out
October 28, 2006
The film struggles under its increasingly weighty pretensions to literary credibility and even tragic status, stumbling towards an unconvincing and cloying conclusion.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 5, 2006
The deader the deadpan the better. When Ferrell and Hoffman do their thing together, a charming bit of whimsy becomes something more. It becomes really, really funny.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 12, 2006
It remains inventive and funny to the end, features fine performances from Will Ferrell and especially Emma Thompson, and offers enough to enjoy and dispute to make it a good B.O. attraction.
Top Critic
John DeFore
Hollywood Reporter
September 10, 2006
The picture pleases while remaining unchallenging to a broad audience.