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« "Radical Acceptance," moral pessimism, and the kingdom of heaven | Main | Cormac McCarthy's The Road »

November 26, 2006


Michael Norton

Now that I've finally seen Stranger than Fiction, I could finally read this post (and I'm so, so glad I didn't see the post before seeing the film).

I find it interesting that, in contrast to its thematic siblings like The Last Temptation of Christ and Donnie Darko (both of which, also interestingly, give us a theology of the cross but not of the resurrection), this film doesn't give the death of its hero any kind of cosmic significance. There's only a very particular, almost mundane, significance to it, yet we nevertheless agree to its necessity at the very instant that we see it. Despite Harold's resignation of his own life in the face of he sees as a greater good, I think you could still make the argument that what we're given is a faithful suspension of ethics in face of the absolute value of the individual.

The other side of that is: if the author in the story takes the place of God, she is not God of the entire world of the story, but only of Harold's life. She is not God universally, only for a single individual. So overall, despite its abundant similarities to the films I mentioned earlier, this one is like a Kierkegaardian ironic anithesis to the almost Hegelian teleology of its predecessors.


Great insights!

I think I'd seen this but skipped it because of the spoilers. Thanks for pointing it out - it's given me some food for thought.

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