A very different comic book movie

(scroll down for trailer)


Eighth movie to be reviewed is American Splendor starring Paul Giamatti as Harvey Pekar, and Harvey Pekar as Harvey Pekar. The film is based around the story Our Cancer Year mainly. It follows Harvey as he meets artist Crumb, and then his third wife Joyce Brabner (Hope Davis) and the way they dealt with Harvey’s medical issues.

It uses a mix of acting, archive footage and documentary-style film, animation and live action, with comic-style transitions. This mix of styles helps the movie really capture the feel of the comic.

The acting is phenomenal. Giamatti nails the part of Harvey, which is no mean feat, having to both compliment and leave his own mark on the character of Harvey, when so many versions of him exist and we are even shown them. The same can be said of Judah Friedlander, who plays Toby Radloff, Harvey’s nerdy friend. This is especially apparent once we meet the real Toby. Davis also give a great performance as Brabner.

This is not the usual comic book type movie you would see. There’s nothing propelling the story forward other than ordinary life experiences, but from Harvey’s perspective. It’s great to watch the way he sees life projected onto the big screen. While the movie is not perfect, it is definitely the best movie on the list so far. My verdict: if you haven’t seen it then you are missing out on a great movie about an ordinary life told in an extraordinary way, by a great cast.

My score:85 percent

Movie info from Wikipedia:

Directed by Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
Produced by Ted Hope
Christine Kunewa Walker
Julia King
Declan Baldwin
Written by Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
Based on American Splendor and Our Cancer Year
by Harvey Pekar
Joyce Brabner
Starring Paul Giamatti
Hope Davis
Judah Friedlander
Music by Mark Suozzo
Cinematography Terry Stacey
Edited by Robert Pulcini
Distributed by Fine Line Features
HBO Films
Release date
  • January 20, 2003 (2003-01-20) (Sundance)
  • August 15, 2003 (2003-08-15) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2 million
Box office $7,986,084