American Splendor

Poster for American Splendor

Autumn 2003 Edge series

Sunday, November 23, 2003 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated NR · 1h 40m

Before camcorders, before webcams, before nonstop reality TV, there was Harvey Pekar and his homegrown autobiographical comic book series “American Splendor.” Since 1976, the pages of “American Splendor” have found Harvey puzzling, fuming and marvelling over the minutiae of his day-to-day existence. No experience is too ordinary, no thought too incorrect for him to gnaw over in his funny, candid and utterly humane stories. Bringing his own brand of bravery to comic books, Harvey Pekar expresses what so many of us think and feel, but only dream of saying – and he never, ever holds back. Now, filmmakers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini bring Pekar’s story – in multiple senses of the word – to the screen in their first narrative feature, American Splendor. American Splendor is the true saga of a working-class Everyman who pursues self-expression without self-censorship – and finds a grateful audience, critical admiration, and that most remarkable of happy endings, a loving family. Like its namesake comic, American Splendor focuses on the large and small moments in the life of its curmudgeonly hero, and offers not one, but several illustrations of Harvey Pekar: the Harvey of the main narrative, portrayed by Paul Giamatti (Man on the Moon, Saving Private Ryan); a 2D animated Harvey; and the real Harvey, past (via archival footage) and present. The result is a film as inventive as the subject himself – one that captures Pekar’s voice in all its hilarious, truthful and cantankerous humanity. American Splendor premiered in competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. It was also selected to screen in Un Certain Regard at the 2003 Cannes International Film Festival.

“It’s a profound tribute to lives lived on the fringes of society – to the introspective loners who are the most observant chroniclers of our times.” – Scott Foundas, Variety

“A jazzy and humane synthesis of the comic books that Cleveland writer Harvey Pekar has for 25 years fashioned from the dross of his daily life.” – J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“The two documentarians in their feature debut hit an unbelievably rich vein of drama, humor, love, whimsy, psychological turmoil, commonplace travails, genuine trauma and artistic triumph.” – Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter

“One of those rare, inventively made movies that isn’t so taken with its own novelty it loses sight of its characters. Its warmth is for real, and it enwraps you.” – Stephanie Zacharek,