Spoiler. Our main character is Harold Crick. He is good at math and he counts almost everything in his head. He leads an exact life, not late and not early, based on his wristwatch. He works at IRS, a government department of tax calculation.
One day, he begins hearing a lady’s voice in his head narrating his life. Everybody says he’s crazy. But it turns out that he is a real character of a book (you will not know it until you watch the movie further). Turbulence starts after the narrator says ,”little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death”. He’s going to die, his writer has decided so.
Harold gets panicked and he asks for any help he could possibly get. A literature professor, Jules Hilbert, believes him and tries to help him figuring out who is the writer of his life and preventing that person from putting Harold’s life to an end.
Then, we have Karen Eiffel, a writer, a heavy smoker. She’s a renowned tragedy writer, every book she wrote ended with the protagonist death. But she has a big problem: she can’t finish her latest book because she doesn’t know how to kill her latest protagonist. Her publisher sends an assistant to assist her….. what else? To kill the protagonist. Many places they go, many things they see, but none gives Eiffel an idea for her protagonist’s death. Until she sees a dropped apple, and eureka! She gets her ending.
Then, we get back to Harold. His search with Professor Jules has given no good result. The only thing they find out is Harold’s story is a tragedy, not comedy, and Harold will certainly die. Harold is now living his life to the fullest knowing that his death is certain. He took his day off, which he has in plenty, leaving all of his routine, which he has never imagine before. He spends his days with the girl he had fallen for, he pursues his old ambition to play guitar, and he lives with his only friend, Dave.
Then, we, and our two protagonist, knows that Harold is Eiffel’s character. Eiffel is ready to type the demise of Harold, just right after Harold finds out that Eiffel is the writer of his life. The two then meet each other and Eiffel was very shocked knowing Harold is for real, which means she would have to kill Harold, just like another 8 characters she has killed. But Harold’s death was final, it’s just hasn’t typed yet. Eiffel gives Harold the written draft, while she keeps thinking what she supposes to do.
Harold gives Professor Jules the draft, because he can’t read it himself. After a day of reading, Jules tells Harold that he has to die. The story is a masterpiece of literature and Harold’s death is a perfect ending. Harold can’t believe it and takes the draft away with him. He reads it and he likes it, even the way he’s going to die. Knowing that his death is necessary, he gives back the draft to Eiffel and told her to type it.
Now Harold can play guitar, he shares his life with his loved one, he doesn’t count his steps or how many times he brushes his teeth (like he used to), he doesn’t care of the time, he doesn’t live alone or eat alone anymore. At his happiest days, sadly to say, his life has to end.
Harold wakes up that day. He knows what he has to do, everything he has to do, just like what he has read. While Eiffel is struggling with her feeling on every sentence she is typing, Harold waits for his bus. Suddenly a boy with his bike slips and falls in front of Harold. Harold gets hit by the bus trying to save the boy.
But Harold isn’t dead (as he supposed to). Eiffel makes a different story and gives it to Jules. When Jules reads Karen’s final manuscript, he notes that the story is weaker without Harold’s death. Karen admits the flaw. She told Jules that Harold was different. He knew he was going to die, but still he accepted it, that’s a kind of character she couldn’t kill.
So, what do you think of this movie? The only difference between us and Harold is Harold knew how and when his death will be. We are characters in our book of life. We are not the one who writes it, and therefore we can’t control our fate. As this book is about our life, the only end it has is our death, and every book must end. Are we brave enough like Harold?