Comics Splendor

One of the recently released films that I'd like to see, though will definitely be left untouched by local distributors, is American Splendor, a film based on the story of Harvey Pekar, the Ohio-based creator of the comic book of the same title. The R-rated film bagged the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival as well as the FIPRESCI award at Cannes, and earned accolades from critics all around (currently 94% on Rotten Tomatoes' Tomatometer).

Beyond its premise involving an independent comic book creator with a day job (sounds familiar), American Splendor is interesting to me because of the way it's executed, a drama that's part documentary, with bits of animation. As described by Mike Clark of USA TODAY, "You'll also see a creative approach to storytelling that could well have blown up in the filmmakers' faces. In what could be his role of a lifetime, Paul Giamatti plays Pekar — as the real Pekar often appears on camera to comment on the action, as do animated clips and other real-life characters we see played by actors."

It stars Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar, Judah Friedlander and James Urbaniak, and is directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. By HBO Films.


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