Harvey Pekar is file clerk at the local VA hospital. His interactions with his co-workers offer some relief from the monotony, and their discussions encompass everything from music to the decline of American culture to new flavors of jellybeans and life itself. At home, Harvey fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. His apartment is filled with thousands of books and LPs, and he regularly scours Cleveland's thrift stores and garage sales for more, savoring the rare joy of a 25-cent find. It is at one of these junk sales that Harvey meets Robert Crumb, a greeting card artist and music enthusiast. When, years later, Crumb finds international success for his underground comics, the idea that comic books can be a valid art form for adults inspires Harvey to write his own brand of comic book. An admirer of naturalist writers like Theodore Dreiser, Harvey makes his American Splendor a truthful, unsentimental record of his working-class life, a warts-and-all self portrait...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Jonathan Demme had tried to adapt a film version of "American Splendor" in the 1980s, but the project never came to fruition as Demme wasn't an established director. See more »
The scene where Harvey gets stuck behind the old Jewish woman leaves out a detail that would help it make sense.
In the movie, she says that the glasses are 6 for $2, but she couldn't carry 12 last time,, so they should charge her only $1.50 for the additional 6. There is no explanation as to why she should be charged less.
In the story from the original comic, she says that the glasses are 6 for $2 or 12 for $3.50, but she couldn't get all 12 last time, so they should charge her only $1.50 for the 6 she is buying now. See more »
[introducing on-screen character]
Here's our man. Yeah, all right. Here's me. Well, the guy playin' me anyway. Even though he don't look nothin' like me. But, whatever.
See more »
By no means your average true story, American Splendor blends fact with fiction to create a slightly surreal world. Surreal, because it's so down-to-earth. It's a tale about the life of Harvey Pekar, essentially a relative non-entity. His one saving grace is that he writes comic books, the twist being that they're not about superheroes or anything extraordinary. Rather, they're about gritty reality. Pekar is the star of his own stories, and the life he leads, the people he knows and the everyday things he does are the essence of what his stories entail.
It's a strange story, and to rate it as a movie seems odd, somehow. The guy has led a pretty staple life, and there's nothing in it which elevates him above anyone else. Then again, that's really the point. There are plenty of elements in here which we can all relate to, and consequently, we find ourselves drawn into it. Ultimately it's convincing.
The acting is generally pretty impressive, particularly from Paul Giamatti as Harvey. Given the real Harvey features in the movie (Hence the blending of fact and fiction) we are able to compare them, and it must be said Giamatti gets it spot on. He does a great job of portraying a grump with a heart. By no means is Pekar ever shown as a mercenary worker, but it's pretty obvious he's one of the good guys; hence another strength here. Because he's shown as wysiwyg, you feel like you either know him, or are him. He's the epitome of your average man, and not even just American.
It's a quirky subject for a movie, but it certainly works and entertains. It's so ordinary yet surreal that it demands your attention, and it's a worthwhile journey to go on.
For many people, this movie is a mirror.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this