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March 15, 2010 | by  | in Film |
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Paper Heart


Charlyne Yi doesn’t believe in love. Maybe it’s because her first boyfriend was a drug addict (not just dark and mysterious as she originally assumed), maybe it’s because she’s a tomboy, or perhaps it’s because she just hasn’t found a guy like Michael Cera yet. Either way, Charlyne’s experiences have left her doubtful, and keen to embark on a trans-American pursuit for the reasons and answers that lie behind the mystifying concept that is love. From high-school sweethearts in LA to horny bikers in Oklahoma, Yi and her crew take a delightful look at where love exists, where it lasts and where (in the case of Charlyne) it unexpectedly appears. You know it—what begins as a disbelieving exploration eventually develops into that gosh-darn-it cute comedian/musician discovering that love, actually is, all around.

But sarcasm (and bad Love, Actually quotes) aside, Paper Heart is actually incredibly charming. Coining the term “hybrid documentary”, the film is a unique combination where real documentary interviews are merged with a scripted storyline. Despite this disparity, the film’s draw lies in its ability to evoke a very real and genuine atmosphere in both the non-fiction and fictional scenes—an atmosphere that invites its audience to experience every behavioral eccentricity, awkward silence, and inappropriate joke (see: horny Oklahoman biker) as the characters do.

Yi is enchanting as the lead personality, and with her delightfully wasted persona, oddly placed dimples and awesome honk of a laugh, it’s not surprisingly that love interest Michael Cera thinks so too. Deciding not to mess with a good thing, Michael Cera plays his role as usual—stuttering, awkward and completely adorable. While that kid may not have much range as an actor, a fleeting shot of those baby doll eyes is truly enough to forgive him for it.

Paper Heart can be summed up by the illustrations that pepper it—not overly necessary or moralistic, but a totally cute and uplifting break from the real world. While Paper Heart may not change lives, it certainly makes them more entertaining, and any film that can successfully analyse and portray love without assuming the role of ‘rom-com’ (and all its saccharine connotations) is something to be noted, and indeed, seen.

Paper Heart
Director: Nicholas Jasenovec

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