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There is no absolute truth! Postmodernism states that there is no real truth because all people see and identify the truth based on their own knowledge and beliefs. The movie, Stranger than fiction, belongs to a recent cycle of postmodern movies with a philosophical significance that explores important issues of our lives. Accurately shown postmodern characteristics help a viewer to get an overall message, in particular, that fate cannot be controlled. Some people would say these elements distract from discovering the overall message; however, fragmentation, asking questions without giving the answers and conventions of the genre are used as powerful tools in the movie to prove the opposite.
First of all, Harold Crack is the movie’s protagonist who lives his life in order, counts his brushstrokes, the number of steps to reach the bus stop, his work breaks and all this is timed with his wristwatch. It seems that the man just follows the watch’s instructions and acts as its servant. The main conflict is that Harold allows the time to dictate his individuality. The character battles with a daily routine for twelve years in order to find comfort and an aim in life. The routine is represented by using physical fragmentation that draws the attention of an audience through the use of graphics, obscure camera angles, splitting screen, and rotation of shots. These methods give a deeper understanding of Harold’s personality and make the film more interesting. The fragmentation smoothly moves to another element of postmodernism such as asking questions without providing the answers. Important to note that this postmodern element makes an audience think about the real meaning of human life. The fundamental movie’s questions centered around are, is the narrator’s life real and Harold’s life fiction? Is Harold just an imaginary character of the book, Death and Taxes, and all events, shown in the movie, are written and assumed by Karen Eiffel? However, a viewer has a lot of opportunities to ask other philosophical questions, unfortunately, without receiving the answers. Moreover, the personification of the wristwatch led everyone to ask, is time controlling us? This question brings the considerable lesson to use the time wisely and to not lose ourselves in the routine as the main character in the movie did. Asking questions without giving the answers also refers to another not less important characteristic which is called conventions of the genre.
Mostly, films have a clearly defined genre, for example, comedy, drama, tragedy, horror, romance, thriller and so on. Stranger than fiction does not exactly give one, letting people decide what genre is the most appropriate for it. The film does not make the lives of its characters out to be comedic or tragic, but rather asks the audience whether or not their life is a comedy or a tragedy. When it is known for the audience that the protagonist has to die, everyone expects to see the sad ending considering the film and the book, Death and Taxes, a tragedy. However, Harold unexpectedly meets the true love who guides him to change his lifestyle with a hope to avoid an imminent death. This person is Anna Pascal, the girl who refuses to pay taxes and whose purpose is to realize passions into reality having the freedom to do whatever she wants. Knowing about his own death which is coming soon, Harold learns the importance of having a purpose and achieving goals during the lifetime. The man attempts to fulfill one of his dreams to come true: to play the guitar.
When Harold learns how to play a song on the guitar, it comes out not only as the success but as the one reason why Anna fell in love with him. This seems like the movie’s turning point and second chance for the protagonist to have a better life, but further events change the plot. Harold meets his life creator, sincerely asks her to change the ending of the novel, but after reading it, accepts the fact that fate cannot be changed and allows to publish the book. Therefore, the man bravely decides to save the boy by throwing himself instead of him in front of a bus as it was written in the novel. Luckily for the main character, Karen Eiffel decides to change the end of the book, realizing that she was about to kill a real person. As a result, Harold appears in a hospital harmed, but saved by his wristwatch. In conclusion, the film, Stranger than fiction, with properly shown postmodern elements is definitely great success among all examples of movies of that period. Those elements are capable to teach all students serious philosophical lessons in order to have worthy life. It is important to know that although fate cannot be controlled, there is always a possibility to change the way in which people respond to it.
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