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American Splendor (2003)

  Directed by: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
Written by: Joyce Brabner, Harvey Pekar, Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
Starring: Joyce Brabner, Hope Davis, Paul Giamatti, Harvey Pekar
Links: American Splendor on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Based on True Story

This movie gets: 8.00 (2 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked equal 53rd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

American Splendor (2003) is also mentioned in em_fiction's review of About Schmidt (2002).

"An ordinary story, a unique telling" - a review by pearly

American Splendor is a uniquely put together blend of reality and fiction, which tells the life story of comic book author Harvey Pekar. Prior to seeing the film, I didn't really know anything about Pekar or his comics, but I had seen some stuff by some of his contemporaries, so this gave me a bit of an introduction to what was going on.

Pekar is played by Paul Giamatti, but the narrative is voiced by Pekar himself, and he makes reference to the movie within his narrative, as though he is making up his words after just having read the movie's script for the first time. It's almost like having a DVD commentary mixed in with the actual movie. As well as the voice-over, interspersed throughout the movie are shots of Pekar (and wife Joyce Brabner) being interviewed and hanging out with the actors.

I guess you could say that it's like a biographical movie and a documentary mixed in together, and the style, which is certainly unique, and probably sounds unusual if you're reading this without having seen it, actually works quite well for this particular film.

With such an innovative story-telling technique, American Splendor is interesting to watch on this level, and it turns the quite ordinary life of Harvey Pekar into something more unusual, which is kinda the same as what Harvey did by turning everyday events in his own life into the subject of his comic books.

It is also a pleasure to watch because of the realistic portrayals by both Giamatti and Davis, and the droning voice of Pekar adds humour and insight. In a way, Pekar's story is the equivalent in the art world to that of an independent musician, doing things himself, and being a pioneer in his field. For this reason alone, it should prove fascinating to creative people, and not just fans of comics.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 1 Dec 2003

Movie review statistics

Ratings given without reviews:

Number of reviews: 1
Number of ratings: 2
Average rating: 8.00
Lowest rating: 7 (by pearly)
Highest rating: 9 (by em_fiction)
 
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