Than Fiction (2006)
Helm's wonderfully inventive script brings this inspiring film to life.
Tiptoeing delicately around conventions about storytelling, toying with
the idea of the narrator, shaping one of the most delightful metafilm
designs in the history of the subgenre. The director is Marc Forster, a
man accustomed to presenting playful narration (Finding
Neverland), and the German's work here equals the control
and choreography of a puppeteer. He is able to combine emotive drama on
several levels with quirky, playful comedy. Will Ferrell, from whom one
might expect a downright comedic performance, shows that he is both
versatile and expressive, whereas Maggie Gyllenhaal's benevolent Ana
Pascal provides the required balance. There are nice supporting roles from
veterans Hoffman and Thompson, as well as amusing cameos from Tom Hulce
and Linda Hunt. It is a shame that Stranger Than Fiction was
overlooked by the Academy, because it shows the extent and range that the
film medium can boast, given the right vision and creativity.