On death and a wristwatch

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn’t.” When Mark Twain said these words, little did he know that it would inspire somethi

Published: 27th February 2012 11:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:04 PM   |  A+A-

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Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn’t.” When Mark Twain said these words, little did he know that it would inspire something so refreshingly original.

Stranger than Fiction directed by Marc Forster promises to be simple and different. From having a wrecking ball accidently demolishing his apartment to a shrink insist that he has schizophrenia it would be the greatest understatement to say that Harold Cricks life changed completely.

“Harold Crick was a man of infinite numbers, endless calculations, and remarkably few words. And his wristwatch said even less. Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would brush each of his thirty-two teeth seventy-six times. Thirty-eight times back and forth, thirty-eight times up and down.

Every weekday, for twelve years, Harold would tie his tie in a single Windsor knot instead of the double, thereby saving up to forty-three seconds. His wristwatch thought the single Windsor made his neck look fat, but said nothing.” (Excerpt from the film) Now after years of leading his mundane life as a stuffy IRS auditor, guided seamlessly by his trusty wristwatch, there is an abrupt intrusion. He begins to hear a voice in his head — not his mother’s, not his conscience but of a strange lady he has never heard before.

She is narrating, unaware that he can hear her, the happenings of his life. As he lives yet another day, his wristwatch conks off and at this point he hears her say that his death is imminent after which his annoyance turns to fear. At this juncture, he meets a few people — a headstrong, tattooed baker who introduces him to the taste of a freshly baked cookie dunked into a glass of milk in between criticising American tax laws, an aloof English professor who fits ages of literature into 23 questions and a distraught author struggling to get past a writers block through nicotine and researching different modes of death. Besides fulfilling a lifelong dream, seeking love in the unlikeliest corner and figuring out whether his life would turn out to be a comedy or tragedy Crick faces a lifetime’s journey in a few days. It was as if all the drama that his bland life lacked, had been compensated for in four weeks. All of which culminates to whether he would be written into an untimely yet poetic death? Stranger than Fiction goes beyond Harold Crick and his wristwatch. Although we grow up realising the inevitability of death, when it stares at us in the face we still are shocked. But would we for the sake of a greater cause or an artistic appeal accept a premature death? It makes you think about an unassuming reality that ties us all together. It could be about how even the most mundane actions translate into a larger scheme. That, in this scarily vast universe even the smallest of nuances like a wristwatch running three minutes fast, is significant.

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