Harold Crick is first seen living a life of perfect order. Everything he does is perfectly scheduled and he seems to be about as square as they come. Harold does not appear capable of having fun, dreaming, or spontaneity of any kind. From his obsessive counting of toothbrush strokes to his 11:13 pm bedtime, Harold’s life is not really a life at all. He lives to follow an arbitrary set of rules he has made up and has become trapped by, but this all changes when he discovers that the voice he is hearing is independent from himself. The voice decides what happens to him. He is not in control.
This loss of control finally allows Harold to break free from his mundane, orderly life. He is no longer afraid of trying new things, living out dreams, and falling in love. Because he doesn’t feel like he has a say in what happens to him, he feels a sense of freedom. He takes risks and says things he never would have before.
Ironically, Harold’s actions are exactly what I would consider taking control. He sees this voice as what dictates his actions, but it seems to be much more than this. It encourages him to break free of the overwhelming regularity of his previous lifestyle. For the first time, Harold enjoys himself, takes chances, and isn’t afraid to really live. By accepting the fate the voice will decide for him, he develops his own sense of identity beyond that of a boring, IRS agent. He becomes a person with hopes and dreams. Again, this irony is undeniable. When he realizes he has no say in what happens, he feels free to hope for the future. It is bizarre that it took a loss of control for this to happen, but it also makes perfect sense. By removing Harold’s control, he can’t be held accountable for what happens to him. If he messes up or does something wrong, the outcome is not his responsibility. He is free to experience whatever happens to him, good or bad, without feeling regret or concern that if he had made another choice, things would have worked out differently. In the end, it is out of his hands.
– Kellyn Campbell