Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stranger than Fiction: "I think I'm in a tragedy"

A couple nights ago I went with my wife, daughter, and son-in-law to see the movie Stranger than Fiction, starring Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson. I liked it a lot. The acting is very strong, the story is fascinating, and the movie's connections with Christianity and life questions are quite interesting to talk about. You should see it.

Farrell surprised me with how well he played a role both tragic and romantic (although his performance is also really funny at times). Emma Thompson as the protagonist was great, as always. Maggie Gyllenhaal is wonderful as the love interest. Dustin Hoffman is perfect for his role as a professor and advisor to Ferrell's character.

Ferrell plays an IRS agent named Harold Crick whose every day is a predictable, planned-out routine. He lives alone. He counts everything, from the number of times he moves his toothbrush up and down to the number of steps that get him across the street. He's always right on time and does his job with precision. But what's missing is passion, love, a sense of purpose, and joy. By the end of the movie, he's discovered all of those things.

Harold finds out there are certain things beyond his control, particularly his own death. His life is being "written" by an unseen, unthwartable force. In a real sense, the movie helps you see how God is the sovereign Writer of the story of our lives, and every single one of us will eventually confront the inescapable reality of death. At one point Harold says, "I think I'm in a tragedy." The truth is, we are all in a tragedy. We're fallen, and life is broken. Because of sin, we die.

That's why we need Jesus. Without Him, we're all trapped in a joyless search for meaning. In a poignant moment, the movie illustrates how Jesus Christ intervened on the cross to save us from death, and calls those He saves to a life spent in service to others.

It's a thought-provoking film with a positive message.

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