1 hour, 55 minutes
R Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Adult.
DVD Features: "Stranger Than Fiction" making-of-featurette; Mike Wallace: "Reflections On a Con"; Deleted scenes with commentary by director Lasse Hallström and writer William Wheeler; Extended scenes "Business as Pleasure"; Feature commentary by director Lasse Hallström and writer William Wheeler; Feature commentary by producers Leslie Holleran and Joshua D. Maurer.
Richard Gere ("An Officer and a Gentleman") plays Clifford Irving, the writer who tried to profit from Howard Hughes’s notoriety by selling a fraudulent “autobiography” of the reclusive mogul. In an amazing switch from the smooth-as-silk characters he usually plays, Richard Gere makes him a desperate but engaging rogue as he dupes media moguls at McGraw-Hill and Time-Life into believing his fantasy and showering him with money. Alfred Molina ("Kiss of the Spider Woman") plays Richard Suskin, a nervous, befuddled fellow who becomes Irving’s reluctant “researcher.” He is as good if not better than Gere.
This is surely the best film directed by Lasse Hallström since his “The Cider House Rules” in 1999. He assembled a strong supporting cast of equally fine actors including: Hope Davis, as the editor who sparks the whole plot by killing the publication of the novel Irving had hoped would make his career and then buys his new ruse, Marcia Gay Harden as Irving's long-suffering wife and Julie Delpy as the “celebrity” with whom he was once involved, Stanley Tucci, Eli Wallach and Zeljko Ivanek. Some of the sequences in the boardrooms and corporate offices tend toward near-slapstick comedy as Irving and Suskin try to escape what seems almost certain unmasking, but even those are handled with such aplomb that they bring smiles rather than grimaces.
With a screenplay by William Wheeler based on Clifford Irving's novel, "The Hoax" is not only well written, directed and acted, but beautifully photographed by Oliver Stapleton, sharply edited by Andrew Mondshein, and sports an ebullient score by Carter Burwell. This is an enormously appealing film, the kind they don't make very often anymore.
Richard Gere ... Clifford Irving
Alfred Molina ... Dick Susskind
Hope Davis ... Andrea Tate
Marcia Gay Harden ... Edith Irving
Stanley Tucci ... Shelton Fisher
Julie Delpy ... Nina Van Pallandt
Eli Wallach ... Noah Dietrich