Nov 03

Paper Heart

by Nathan Atnikov · 1 comment

Critics are having a tough time with Paper Heart. Some have complained that they can’t tell which parts of the movie are scripted and which are legitimate documentary footage. It’s a truly unfair complaint. The goal of the movie is to make you think about love – any way it can get you to do that is fair game.

The mind behind the film is Charlyne Yi, a comedian, musician and now filmmaker in her early 20s. She is at once playfully dishonest and disarmingly sincere. She sets out at the beginning of Paper Heart to make a documentary about the nature of love, and to discover if she is ever capable of finding it and feeling it. It’s interesting to see such a shy, awkward person pursue this type of project. The film opens with her wandering the Las Vegas strip trying to interview people, often just sticking the microphone out at them without asking them a question. Eventually, she crisscrosses the country interviewing everyone from divorcees to long-married couples to her friends – short cameos provided by Seth Rogen, Demetri Martin, and a bunch of others.

The documentary-style footage is slowly but surely overpowered by the dramatic side of Paper Heart, which begins with Yi meeting Michael Cera at a party. From that point on, the film largely follows their relationship, and Yi’s battle against falling in love. The result, I suppose, is kind of predictable. How it gets there is anything but. The irony of the movie is that the unscripted parts are full of over-the-top stories, while the scripted scenes feel extraordinarily real. The interaction between Yi and Cera is effortless in the way it shows two people trying to figure each other out.

Reviews of Paper Heart are split between people who don’t like it because they don’t like the mix between doc and drama, and people who like it because of the actual content of the film. Given the choice, wouldn’t you rather focus on the content?

Paper Heart is playing at The Globe Cinema – 617 8th Avenue SW.

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