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American Splendor

American Splendor

2003
Comedy
Drama
1h 41m
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. (Fine Line Features)
Your probable score
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American Splendor

2003
Comedy
Drama
1h 41m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 62.02% from 3081 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(3081)
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Rated 30 Jan 2014
73
56th
FANCULIZZATEVI UOMINI ANTI VOTO
Rated 30 May 2017
80
78th
Perhaps the part that Paul Giamatti was born to play. Relatable, touching and full of very cool touches that make it stand out from other biopics.
Rated 10 Nov 2017
91
90th
It's no small achievement to turn Pekar's stubbornly dull comic book into not just a 3-act narrative, but a very compelling one at that. Pekar's comic was a series of vignettes kidding itself that even the most banal experiences merited an audience, but with Our Cancer Year banality disappeared & Pekar's life took a turn towards the unusual. He's a relatable curmudgeon whose complaints are funny & even insightful.This would make a great comic book misanthropy trilogy with Crumb & Ghost World.
Rated 17 Aug 2019
96
92nd
Brilliantly offbeat character study of Pekar is a fascinating meld of drama, documentary and animation, with Pekar and Giamatti in essence tag-teaming the performance of this movie's portrait of Pekar; even more amusing in the context of schlubby Pekar's apparent rejection of his celebrity life and status. Outside of its unique structure, the film is dryly funny and beautifully performed by all, with Giamatti in beautiful, duck-to-water form in the lead.
Rated 10 Jan 2016
75
84th
An inventive biopic that alternates between film, documentary and animation, American Splendor depicts the life of a working class stiff who parlayed the quotidian details of his humdrum existence into an influential comic, transforming his life in the process. Like Crumb, it's a portrayal of an artistic outsider that is refreshingly free of romantic sentiment; Harvey is not a pleasant man, and the film doesn't hide the unsavoury aspects of his personality. Giamatti is terrific in the lead.
Rated 27 Jan 2010
83
56th
An eccentric little film with excellent eccentric performances. Who would've thought Harvey Pekar would make it to Hollywood!
Rated 14 Aug 2007
82
69th
A film lacking in engaging conflict, but also featuring great performances from Giammatti and Davis. The dialogue is exceptionally written.
Rated 19 Sep 2017
86
61st
This is a gripping movie that takes a not likable character and makes you route for him. Depressing but enjoyable.
Rated 19 Mar 2008
87
88th
Seemlessly blends animated versions of Pekar's strips with interviews from the man himself, all integrated into the film starring Giamatti and Davis. Directors Berman and Pulcini have made a creative and unique work like nothing you've ever seen. It works as a documentary, a bio-pic, and a tragicomedy. Giamatti shows us Pekar as a man self-aware -- he knows his life is absurd, and he strikes a half-grin before saying things, the cogs in his head already working them into Splendor's next issue.
Rated 02 Sep 2008
92
92nd
A truly wonderful biopic, whose style mirrors the tumultuous and fascinating life of its protagonist. A masterpiece of Americana, independent cinema and proof that Paul Giamatti is one of our great living actors.
Rated 13 Aug 2010
87
95th
It's true, Revenge of the Neeyyyrds is complete shit.
Rated 05 Aug 2009
75
65th
I always hate it when they bring in documentarian interviews with the real-life incarnations of the subject of true-story movies, but here it very much works. A few of the comic book-style set scenes with Giamatti rambling on for 5 minutes about, for example, the meaning of Harvey Pekars name to me felt a bit ham-fisted and out of place, but the rest of the film makes up for it by a mile, with the acting being solid all around and the soundtrack being jazzy gold. Really enjoyable, recommended.
Rated 24 Jul 2007
88
90th
Because I love grouchy misanthropes, I'm a pretty big fan of this movie. Harvey Pekar? R. Crumb? Great stuff.
Rated 17 Feb 2009
74
64th
Impressively presented Bio/Docu/Comic that is often amusing, but rarely insightful. When Harvey is discussing his name it finally nails the appeal of his comics, before that it seems ill-defined. The whole movie feels like that. Davis was good, but too attractive for the role. The mimicry of Toby just doesn't work. What brings it together is Giamatti, making Harvey likeable enough while staying true to character, his performance offset nicely by the visual flair of the integrated comics.
Rated 02 Jul 2009
85
81st
Very real and very touching; I wish more comic book movies were like this. Paul Giammati is thoroughly excellent as the lead role.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
92nd
A really great comic book movie.
Rated 03 Sep 2014
65
32nd
I remember seeing this in the theater but I didn't form a strong impression. The subject matter didn't interest me and because it was unfamiliar to me, I also found it confusing and maybe I didn't "get it."
Rated 20 Aug 2012
75
72nd
Although the meta element and the combination of fiction, documentary and cartoon (a novel concept, for sure) was occasionally rather crudely presented, the film is ultimately a winner. Giamatti and Davis are entertaining in their grumpy mode and although their real-life characters sometimes come off as caricatures, "American Splendor" nevertheless remains an engrossing, thought-provoking, original and emotionally potent picture.
Rated 31 Dec 2006
98
99th
Giamatti acts out Pekar's pessimism flawlessly.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
70
50th
null
Rated 11 Sep 2011
73
57th
Desultory and unfocused, but still well-acted and easy to relate to. The way the film messes with its format and its neurotic main character are reminiscent of Annie Hall. The constant blending of real life with dramatized stories of the past makes for something surreal, refreshing, and novel. The real Pekar and Giamatti do a great job setting up a neurotic, depressed, irritable guy like Pekar as someone easy to identify with, and that identifiability is what makes the third act work.
Rated 17 Apr 2012
84
50th
Captures the same mood as the comics. Great window into a life.
Rated 22 Nov 2010
45
34th
I might have to give this another shot. Watched the first 45 minutes and was totally bored so I gave up on it.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
74
70th
For those who love the underground comics scene, especially those who like movies about alternative comics (Crumb and Ghost World come immediately to mind,) American Splendor is as entertaining and interesting a movie you'll find.
Rated 22 Feb 2012
92
94th
Erases the line between fiction and real life by crossing over it so many times.
Rated 12 Nov 2008
80
33rd
Paul Giamatti als Harvey Pekar ist wirklich spitze. Für die die auch heute noch fasziniert sind von den Psychedelischen Comics des Robert Crumb ist AMerican Splendor zu empfehlen. Für alle anderen ist der Film sicher ein wenig zu schräg und eventuell auch ein wenig öde!
Rated 25 Jul 2007
100
95th
A Brilliant tale of a grumpy Joe who made a name for himself
Rated 31 May 2008
75
48th
Hated both these characters, liked the movie.
Rated 11 Feb 2012
85
59th
A cool mode of storytelling and an excellent Paul Giamatti performance make American Splendor one cool film. It does fizzle out at the end, but there's a lot to like about it.
Rated 25 Sep 2010
75
92nd
Excellent original comic book movie. Giamatti is great.
Rated 05 Oct 2013
80
88th
Challenging in terms of storytelling and featuring great acting.
Rated 21 Aug 2008
95
91st
Paul Giamatti should have received an Oscar nomination. Interesting tid bit: I was sitting next to Kirt Loder in the screening and he was very drunk.
Rated 15 Jul 2009
92
92nd
A wonderful adaptation of an important piece of recent literature, and quite funny to boot.
Rated 25 May 2012
70
41st
The straight narrative as presented is flat and filled out with Hollywood theatrics and Hope Davis being "real" by wearing an ill-fitting wig. These people are clearly documentarians, and the best parts are when the real kind of flows into the narrative and they break the fourth wall fairly effortlessly. But that's a small part of it. Giamatti is okay.
Rated 18 Mar 2007
85
84th
Really great stuff. Told well, played well.
Rated 15 Aug 2010
64
84th
#04#, reviews
Rated 23 Jul 2009
97
97th
Awesome Pekar
Rated 21 Feb 2024
8
73rd
I enjoyed learning about this guy.
Rated 11 Dec 2010
55
39th
I'm really, really not sure about this... I appreciate it for not considering happiness as an extremly important value that should be seeked obsessivly all the time, which is kind of refreshing and unconventional. On the other hand, I was annoyed by the fact that the movie depressed me. I guess I didn't learn the lesson!
Rated 05 Sep 2012
85
67th
Part documentary, part comic book film, works excellently as both.
Rated 31 May 2014
60
36th
My thumb slipped on the remote so I accidentally watched this entire movie. I've never heard of any of these people.
Rated 24 Sep 2010
64
60th
Pleasurable but slight documentary cum biopic. Love Giammati.
Rated 20 Jan 2010
71
24th
A really neat mix of styles: it was really fun having the real Pekar in there. Giamatti and Davis were their usual fantastic selves, and the phone book monologue was phenomonal.
Rated 22 Jul 2017
80
69th
Very good movie. Should not be missed. Pizza and coke and this movie...a great evening.
Rated 10 Aug 2014
85
83rd
There's a reliable disappointment.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
85
50th
A wry exploration of mediums and an interesting indivdual. Fascinating throughout.
Rated 13 Mar 2013
74
71st
just the right amount of miserable.
Rated 26 Mar 2009
90
72nd
Great role for Giamatti and he makes the most of it.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
81
69th
Impressively conceived and quite funny. The crankiness wears thin after a bit, though.
Rated 25 Mar 2012
67
41st
I like the way the film is edited and constructed, breaking the fourth wall, the comic strip style, etc. However the content of the actual movie isn't that compelling and just becomes a chore to get through. It would be a more interesting documentary instead of scripted. Having said that, Paul Giamatti did a great job playing Harvey.
Rated 13 Oct 2007
75
27th
I'd only read the comic a few times before seeing this movie. I want to read more now.
Rated 27 Mar 2007
85
64th
Surprisingly good
Rated 26 Mar 2011
55
16th
I was probably the only kid in my neighborhood who wasn't into comic books back in my youth. Which is pretty much why I hate the comic book character craze in film making that is so prevalent today. But I had heard that this was an excellent film about some comic book guy, and it starred Paul Giamatti, who is one of the better actors working today. Unfortunately, this film, aside from Giamatti's performance is dull beyond belief.
Rated 06 May 2007
90
86th
One of the best-ever comics adaptations. The source material is definitely not the men-in-tights kind of comic, either, which is probably not a coincidence. Full of fresh cinematic ideas, pathos, and humor
Rated 26 Dec 2013
70
55th
Throughout the movie, we basically watch a grumbling, discontent personality very well portrayed by Giamatti. It draws a realistic image of how much we can change and how much we cannot in our lives. Harvey Pekar was a comic book hero, but he retired as a file clerk and he has always been a file clerk. He could not write or exist without the sluggish routine and some level of muttering. This shouldn't be hard to identify with, it is easier to relate ourselves to plebeian lives, isn't it?
Rated 05 Apr 2007
86
81st
Charmingly bizarre. The self-reflexive, documentary-type approach was excellently done.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
80
69th
As I said, Paul Giamatti is my favorite.
Rated 24 Jul 2012
77
56th
Weird as hell and originally grating, but eventually kind of inspirational. Giamatti's the man, and the film definitely has originality going for it. Also, Letterman's an ass.
Rated 08 Aug 2007
85
92nd
A great adaptation of the comic book that contrasts the actors, the people the actors are playing and the comic itself all at once. Perhaps the most truthful comic book movie ever.
Rated 03 Dec 2014
82
88th
(3rd viewing, 2nd:95)
Rated 14 Aug 2007
97
96th
No film has ever made the breaking of the fourth wall more enjoyable. It helps to have compelling characters who are gritty and real, along with Paul Giamatti just nailing Harvey Pekar.
Rated 24 Sep 2010
88
91st
Biopics often have great central performances, but Giamatti really hits it out of the park here. Such a good flick, you'd have to be an asshole not to like it.
Rated 27 Feb 2011
68
70th
Unique film. Amazing that a story about 'just a pretty average guy' could be so interesting. A lot of this is I suppose due to Paul Giamatti's top class performance. And also the fact that I've never seen a movie about this character. Original and refreshing.
Rated 18 Feb 2010
68
45th
Watchable and occasionally funny, but overall just decent. Watch the documentary on crumb instead if you are interested in counterculture comic books.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
40
30th
Over my head.
Rated 07 Mar 2020
81
78th
"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff." Harvey Pekar
Rated 16 May 2009
60
68th
Paul Giamatti does a wonderful job in this film. It was quite charming
Rated 31 Jul 2009
60
23rd
All this movie demonstrated to me was that Harvey Pekar really is as big an asshole as appeared to be so often on the Letterman show. Good acting, crap subject matter.
Rated 17 Dec 2011
78
77th
A great portrait of an incredibly unsympathetic... or at least, unlikeable character. Giamatti is given a lot to work with in this film, and he chews the scenery like hell. Some of it will make you want to die from second-hand embarrassment for the protagonist. Overall, an interesting and unique portrait of a complicated and miserable man.
Rated 18 Sep 2009
82
86th
Mixing a comic with a semi-documentary with a biopic sounds like it can't possibly work, but it definitely does here. Giamatti is wonderful as usual, and the script nicely juggles drama, (cynical) humor and, well, plain ol' real life.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
87
71st
This is pretty odd if you don't know what you're in for and even if you do it's still pretty odd. Highly recommended.
Rated 29 Aug 2007
85
77th
Hope davis ruins it, but it's pretty good, make sure you get to know who Harvey Pekar is in some special features.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
95
97th
A truly uplifting story with a happy ending. But then, I'm a long-time fan of Harvey Pekar.
Rated 10 Jan 2012
46
11th
exceedingly mediocre and unaffecting, up to the point where it becomes unwatchable: "just remove yourself from the experience [cancer] until it's over [by making a comic of it]" could there be a worse betrayal of life committed in the name of art? simply shameful.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
74
64th
I'm not so sure Harvey Pekar's life warranted a movie, but that's just me. The style of the movie was really cool, and I thought Giamatti did a fine job as well. Just don't expect a laugh riot or anything, and you'll find it's a decent movie.
Rated 17 Jun 2008
8
82nd
Very satisfying and original. I thought this movie would be boring but it was totally engaging and fun.
Rated 18 Dec 2010
70
57th
Nothing happens in this movie and it's completely fascinating.
Rated 17 Oct 2010
60
54th
Took awhile to get into it, but did enjoy.
Rated 29 Sep 2007
75
50th
An enjoyable documentary about a likable and amusingly gloomy slob of a man, American Splendor is the definition of "good, but hardly extraordinary". The film has a format that involves jumping between footage of actors acting out situations from the comic books, and interviews with the real people themselves. It's interesting to compare Giamatti's performance with the real Pekar; it doesn't seem to be a perfectly accurate performance, but it has a life of its own. Worth seeing.
Rated 20 Feb 2007
85
71st
Pretty damn good.
Rated 24 Oct 2010
20
41st
"An act of unabashed postmodern self-commentary employed to deliberately blur the distinction between the authentic Harvey Pekar and actor Paul Giamatti's faithful recreation." - Nick Schager
Rated 26 May 2008
85
98th
Excellent.
Rated 17 Dec 2011
87
92nd
This is a very good original film. Paul Giamatti is outstanding in the lead role.The movie has a nice mix of real people and actors. I Highly recommend this independent film.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
95
85th
with extraordinary storytelling, this movie is a moving and funny. a must-see!
Rated 11 Nov 2009
60
85th
A chewable bone thrown to the famished fans of Ghost World, with a protagonist closely related to the latter's Steve Buscemi in his marginal existence, his menial job, his obliviousness or out-and-out resistance to fashion, his patronage of yard sales, his esoteric record collection, his congenital negativity. Even though Giamatti, the very epitome of a supporting player, relishes his chance at a lead, he's a bit of a one-note, a bit of a stickler about always staying "in character."
Rated 25 Dec 2009
73
46th
Besides reminding me and my friends of a guy we know, this is a great movie. Wonderful acting of a very weird guy makes for an interesting and at times darkly funny movie.
Rated 14 Jul 2015
80
72nd
Having already loved Crumb, this Biodoc hybrid worked well for me, in all its forms, be it Giamatti's acting, Pekar showing up as himself, Urbaniak's portrayal of Crumb being on point and the Letterman interviews.
Rated 11 Sep 2013
100
86th
I best Am Splendor movie I every saw in the my life!
Rated 02 Jan 2011
89
89th
88.750
Rated 15 Oct 2007
85
64th
great performances, great story,
Rated 08 Nov 2007
85
84th
Drama/documentary more like it. If you don't know Harvey Pekar or want to know him, stay clear of this.
Rated 22 Dec 2008
74
85th
good movie
Rated 16 Jan 2021
93
91st
This is absolutely brilliant movie. Really original approach to make a biography to big screens. Berman and Pulcini were really worthy Oscar candidates.
Rated 08 Jun 2007
95
95th
Just like Pekar brought his life alive in the comics, Giamatti brought the comics to life in the film. A sincere nerd rates it as excellent. I don't know if I have the right to call myself a genuine nerd, but at least I'm sincere.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
85
88th
Paul Giamatti IS this movie
Rated 14 Jun 2007
85
73rd
Good, but slows down a bit in the middle, and the end isn't really much of an end. A decent look at Pekar and his work.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
95
89th
Incredibly moving tale of an ordinary man. The layers of the film and Paul Giammatti's incredible performance make this a tresure.
Rated 02 Mar 2011
92
93rd
A brilliant biography, based on autobiographical comic books. Charming, and a good example of fleeting fame.
Rated 08 Jan 2010
80
78th
A nice little film.
Rated 10 Aug 2009
80
22nd
I never read the comic. The movie didn't make me want to read the comic. It was well-done for what it was. It was basically a movie about losers with depressing lives and how the protagonist connect w/ an audience w/ his comic about it. It does have relevance, but as a movie it didn't give me anything to take away from it, other than the fact that you can live a very bland, lonely and depressing life and it still keeps going. I actually rated this high since it was well-acted & performed.

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