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Paper Heart: A Mumblecore Romantic Docu-Comedy

Updated on July 23, 2010

 I can honestly say that 'Paper Heart" is a unique film, a combination mumblecore style romantic comedy and documentary based around the idea of love.

Comedian and musician Charlyne Yi has never been in love and believes she never will be, in fact that she is incapable of love. Fascinated by what she cannot understand, she embarks cross country with her friend Nicholas Jasenovec (Jake Johnson) and a film crew to interview all sorts of people, from young children to aged couples, from scientists to romance writers. On her travels, she encounters a friend of Nick's, actor Michael Cera. Fascinated by her, Cera pursues her until she finally agrees to go on a date with him.

Eventually beginning to experience something that just might be love, Charlyne agrees to allow the camera crew to film her and Mike. But will this pressure of having a relationship documented entirely on film destroy it? And will Charlyne ever experience love?

I really loved this movie. Both Charlyne and Michael are ridiculously adorable in their roles, which made every scene they had together a joy to watch. The documentary subjects are also all fascinating to watch: each has a slightly different definition of and experience with love, and seeing so many different kinds of love depicted is fascinating. Some of the interviewers also tell stories about love, which Charlyne acts out with puppets. These puppet scenes are my favorite parts of the movie, funny, detailed, and always incredible heartwarming. I think this is reason enough alone to watch this movie. 

As far as I can tell, all the documentary interviews are real, while the whole storyline involving the romance between Charlyne and Michael is fictional. The fun bit is that both bits are treated as if they are both real, with Charlyne and Michael attempting once to outrun the camera and another time pointedly removing their mikes at the end of their date. This adds an interesting sense of realism to the whole endeavour, as the romance really feels real, and it legitimately hurts when it starts to strain under constant supervision.

This movie was awesome. It was funny, heartwarming, and definitely creative. Plus Charlyne Yi, who I have only ever seen elsewhere as a minor character on "Knocked Up," was funny, adorable, and a joy to watch. Defintely check it out if you find it, especially if you are either a cynic about love or a true romantic, as it appels to both,   


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