Paper Heart (PG)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner15/10/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 88 mins

This romcom-slash-documentary is slightly hampered by both a lack of chemistry between Yi and Cera and the occasionally annoying blurring of the fiction-reality lines but it's also gently amusing and frequently moving, thanks to its interviews with real life couples talking about love.

What's it all about?
Directed by Nicholas Jasenovec, Paper Heart presents itself as a straight-up documentary but is actually a romantic comedy posing as a documentary, only with real life documentary inserts. Performance artist Charlyne Yi (who was in Knocked Up) decides to make a documentary with her friend Nick (actor Jake Johnson plays Jasenovec on screen) about why she believes she'll never fall in love, during which she travels around the country, interviewing real life couples about love and relationships.

However, things get complicated when Yi meets actor Michael Cera at a party and the two begin a tentative relationship, with the documentary crew following their every move.

The Good
The best parts of the film are the real life inserts, particularly when Jasenovec illustrates their various histories and anecdotes with Yi's delightful hand-cut animation, which is strongly reminiscent of Michel Gondry's work in The Science of Sleep. The stories themselves are genuinely moving (particularly the one involving a lift in the rain) and form the real heart of the film.

Yi and Cera are both excellent, though the film is considerably hampered by the lack of any real chemistry between them and their romance fails to convince as a result. Similarly, your enjoyment of the film will vary considerably depending on how charming you find Yi's persona.

The Bad
The biggest problem is that the blurring of the lines between fiction and reality actually backfires, because it's jarring whenever something obviously scripted happens (e.g. Cera randomly turning up while they're shooting at the zoo) or multiple camera angles break the illusion. The upshot of that is that you're often taken out of the film and find yourself wondering whether it would have worked better as a straight-up romcom or a proper documentary; it also means that the finale lacks any convincing emotional impact.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, Paper Heart is a nice idea that doesn't quite work, though it's definitely worth seeing for the charming real life interview segments and Yi's delightful animated illustrations.

Film Trailer

Paper Heart (PG)
Paper Heart has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 15/12/2017 21:40

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