Picks and Pans Review: American Splendor

UPDATED 08/25/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/25/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT

Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis
Critic's Choice

bgwhite    



In a summer populated by mutants and monsters, Harvey Pekar is the real-life comic-book hero. The film cleverly combines documentary with drama, so that Pekar, a cartoonist, appears in person but is also played by Giamatti in a career-defining performance. Grubby, chubby and downright schlubby, Pekar is an Everyman who has long since recognized that he is, in his own assessment, "all grown up and going nowhere." His particular nowhere is Cleveland, where he toils as a lowly file clerk and writes an autobiographical underground comic-book series, called American Splendor, chronicling his woebegone life. Over the course of the film, he meets and marries a fan, writer Joyce Brabner (Davis, in another swell performance), adopts a daughter and fights a serious illness, all with the air of a man who expects the worst from life and isn't sure he's happy when he fails to get it.

Written and directed with a sure hand by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, Splendor is that rare thing, a movie that shows life as it really is, not as we wish it could be. (R) BOTTOM LINE: Truly splendid

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters