Stranger Than Fiction

Synopsis: Everybody knows that your life is a story. But what if a story was your life? Harold Crick is your average IRS agent: monotonous, boring, and repetitive. But one day this all changes when Harold begins to hear an author inside his head narrating his life. The narrator it is extraordinarily accurate, and Harold recognizes the voice as an esteemed author he saw on TV. But when the narration reveals that he is going to die, Harold must find the author of the story, and ultimately his life, to convince her to change the ending of the story before it is too late.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Director(s): Marc Forster
Production: Sony Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 14 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
113 min

This is a story about a man

named Harold Crick.

And his wristwatch.

Harold Crick was a man of infinite


... endless calculations

and remarkably few words.

And his wristwatch said even less.

Every weekday, for 12 years...

... Harold would brush

each of his 32 teeth 76 times.

Thirty-eight times back and forth.

Thirty-eight times up and down.

Every weekday, for 12 years...

... Harold would tie his tie in a single

Windsor knot instead of the double...

... thereby saving up to 43 seconds.

His wristwatch thought the single

Windsor made his neck look fat...

... but said nothing.

Every weekday, for 12 years...

... Harold would run at a rate of nearly

... barely catching

the 8:
17 Kronecker bus.

His wristwatch would delight...

... in the feeling of the crisp wind

rushing over its face.

And every weekday, for 12 years...

... Harold would review 7. 134

tax files...

... as a senior agent

for the Internal Revenue Service.

Regs section 1.469-2 (B) (i), Diane.


Good morning. IRS.

Harold, 89 times 1417?

That adds up.

Only taking a 45. 7-minute

lunch break...

... and a 4.3- Minute coffee break...

... timed precisely by his wristwatch.

Oh, great.

Yeah, we'll go to Mullen's or we'll... .

Beyond that,

Harold lived a life of solitude.

He would walk home alone.

He would eat alone.

And at precisely 11: 13 every night...

... Harold would go to bed alone...

... placing his wristwatch to rest

on the nightstand beside him.

That was, of course,

before Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Harold's wristwatch

changed everything.

Oh, my God, you got it?

I got it.

I got it.

If one had asked Harold,

he would have said...

... that this particular Wednesday was

exactly like all the Wednesdays prior.

And he began it the same way he- -

And he began it the same way

he always did.


He began it the same way

he always did.

When others' minds would- -

Hello? Is someone there?

When others' minds would fantasize

about their upcoming day...

... or even try to grip onto

the final moments of their dreams...

... Harold just counted brushstrokes.

All right, who just said,

"Harold just counted brushstrokes"?

And how do you know I'm counting



It was remarkable how the simple,

modest- -

It was remarkable h- -

It was remarkable how the simple,

modest elements of Harold's life...

... so often taken for granted...

... would become the catalyst

for an entirely new life.

Harold ran for the bus...

... his stiff leather shoes

making a terrible squeaking sound...

... as they flexed against the asphalt.

And though this was

an extraordinary day...

... a day to be remembered

for the rest of Harold's life...

... Harold just thought

it was a Wednesday.

I'm sorry, did you hear that?

The voice. Did you hear it?

"Harold thought it was a Wednesday"?

Don't worry, it is Wednesday.

No, no, did you hear it? "Harold

just thought it was a Wednesday"?

- Who's Harold?

- I'm Harold.

Harold, it's okay, it's Wednesday.

No, no, I... .

Never mind.

Harold couldn't concentrate

on his work.

Excuse me, Harold?

His thoughts were scattered.

His mind elsewhere.


Someone here should be able to fix--

Hold on a second.

Hey, Harold. What's 67 times 453?

When a coworker asked

the product of 67 and 453...

You know what?

I can't think while you're talking.

... he drew a blank.

- What?

- What?

- Harold quickly answered, "30,351."

- What? Oh, nothing. 30,351.

Despite the answer

really being 31,305.

Wait, wait, wait, 31,305. Sorry.

Dude, I just totally caught

some insurance adjuster...

...claiming his jet ski

as a work vehicle.

I'll tell you, it is a shame...

...that they don't give out

an auditor of the year award.


You okay?

Dave, I'm being followed.

How are you being followed?

You're not moving.

- It's by a voice.

- What?

I'm being followed

by a woman's voice.


What is she saying?

She's narrating.

Harold, you're staring at boxes,

what is she narrating?

No, no, no. I had to stop filing.

Watch. Watch. Listen. Listen.

The sound the paper made

against the folder...

... had the same tone

as a wave scraping against sand.

And when Harold thought about it...

... he listened to enough waves

every day...

... to constitute what he imagined

to be a deep and endless ocean.

Did you hear that?

You mean you filing?

No, no, no, the voice.


Frightening part is sometimes I do

imagine a deep and endless ocean.

What ocean?

The one made by the sound--

Forget it.

New audits. Have a good day.

Thank you.

All right, we got a baker

and a securities trader.

Maybe you should take the baker.

- Okay?

- Okay.

Damn it! Damn it! Damn it!

- You miscreant.

- I understand.

Oh, get bent, taxman!

- Taxman!

- Taxman!


Go home!

Listen, is there somewhere else

we could talk about this?

No. We're gonna talk about this

right here.

Okay. It says, the file, that you only

paid part of your taxes for last year.

- That's right.

- Looks like only 78 percent.


So you did it on purpose?


So you must have been

expecting an audit?

I was expecting a fine...

...or a sharp reprimand.

A reprimand? This isn't

boarding school, Ms. Pascal.

You stole from the government.

No, I didn't steal from the government.

I just didn't pay you entirely.

Ms. Pascal, you can't just

not pay your taxes.

Rate this script:4.0 / 2 votes

Zach Helm

Zach Helm (born January 21, 1975 in Santa Clara, California) is an American writer, director, and producer. The son of school teachers, Helm was raised in a town of less than 50 citizens in the Sierra Nevadas of California. He first became known for writing Stranger than Fiction (2006), which garnered much notoriety for Helm, including awards from the National Board of Review and PEN International. He is best known internationally for his acclaimed stage play Good Canary, which has been translated and produced around the world, garnering multiple awards and accolades. He is also known for the film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007) (which he wrote and directed) and his one-man performance pieces, most notably his revival of Spalding Gray's Interviewing The Audience. Helm has also spent much time developing his own "open input" approach to drama, a collaborative process focused on helping artists mine narrative material from the real world. Using interviews, physical research, devised theater techniques and dramaturgy, the egalitarian approach has been used by Helm to help artists around the world, from primary school children to amateur filmmakers. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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