American Splendor Reviews

Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
April 12, 2013
I can't imagine how the filmmakers went about it, let alone pulled the whole thing off, but their film comes together in unpredictable and remarkably pleasurable ways.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
July 14, 2010
The rare artist biopic that goes beyond the dull march of events and actually illuminates the creative process.
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David Ansen
Newsweek
August 18, 2008
A glorious rebuke to all this summer's recycled, effects-ridden, laboriously "fun" Hollywood disappointments piled along the wayside like so many crashed cars.
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
April 17, 2007
We're constantly kept on our toes regarding issues of representation while Pekar's sour but indefatigible working-class skepticism carries us along.
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
Hugely enjoyable and very clever portrait of Harvey Pekar.
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
August 7, 2004
It would be a mistake to regard American Splendor as an anthem for the common man. It is the uncommon that is being celebrated here.
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
September 12, 2003
If Harvey Pekar is a brilliant oddity so is the movie that tells his story.
| Original Score: 5/5
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
August 29, 2003
Reminds you that sometimes, simply getting out of bed each morning can be the most heroic of acts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
August 29, 2003
The kind of movie that sticks with you for days, your admiration growing each time you remember it.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Tom Long
Detroit News
August 29, 2003
An audacious mix of documentary, animation, comic and staged film that somehow finds heart and hope in the gray wash of a real life.
| Original Score: A
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
August 29, 2003
Codirectors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who have three traditional documentaries on their resume, do a good job of keeping the various Harveys and Joyces from bumping into each other.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
August 29, 2003
Wildly original and entertaining.
| Original Score: A-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
August 29, 2003
As touching as it is achingly, hilariously prickly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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August 29, 2003
It's an experience that's deeply human and profoundly moving.
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
August 28, 2003
Funny, poignant and vitally original.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
August 28, 2003
The real magic of American Splendor lies in the sprightly transitions, the way it takes you from one level of reality and representation to the next without missing a beat.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 28, 2003
The most amazing, colossal and fantastic comic-inspired movie in years.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Bob Longino
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 28, 2003
Thrillingly inventive, charming when it needs to be, prickly when it has to be and, like a potter's wheel, constantly in motion as it shapes celluloid into visual art.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
August 22, 2003
It's a humane and witty treatment of an average life that, incidentally, speaks to the worth and inherent drama of average lives.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
August 22, 2003
That rarity: a true original.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
August 22, 2003
It's a beauty: wise, many-layered, and funny as hell.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
August 22, 2003
In its ugly way, it shows the purest and most transcendental form of beauty, which is just life adapting and continuing.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 22, 2003
Magnificently audacious movie, in which fact and fiction sometimes coexist in the same frame.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 21, 2003
An offbeat collage of animation, dramatization and documentary that's a banquet of sweet-and-sour wit and grudging humanism.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
August 21, 2003
This mixture of drama and documentary may seem jarring at first. But its ultimate effect is every bit as clever as the filmmakers hoped.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
August 21, 2003
Its arty style and note-perfect performances delight you.
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
August 21, 2003
As inventive as Being John Malkovich, as psychologically quirky as Ghost World and as honest as the day is long.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
August 21, 2003
Harvey gets under your skin, more so than just about any of this summer's supposed movie heroes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
August 20, 2003
A marvelous, intelligent hybrid of documentary, comic book graphics and straight-ahead drama.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
August 18, 2003
The humour is dark but frequently funny.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
August 17, 2003
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.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
August 15, 2003
Sweet and sour treat.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
August 15, 2003
There's a tremendous amount of cultural vitality out there in the land of the losers; American Splendor is one of the first and best films to capitalize fully on this phenomenon.
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
August 15, 2003
It's an inventive, mind-expanding exercise in heart and soul.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
August 15, 2003
Proof that ordinary guys can hold the comics, and the screen, as well as superheroes. This Halloween, I want to be Harvey Pekar.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
August 14, 2003
The best movie about society's untrendiest since Ghost World exactly two years ago.
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
August 14, 2003
Hilarious, moody and cantankerous.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
August 14, 2003
Giamatti looks nothing like Pekar either in person or in his various cartoon guises, but in a warmly sympathetic performance he brings the character to grubby, soulful life.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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John Anderson
Newsday
August 14, 2003
Funny, clever, tender and wry, while always holding true to its ongoing identity crisis.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
August 14, 2003
Exhilarating and big-hearted.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
August 14, 2003
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.
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
August 13, 2003
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.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
August 12, 2003
I wish more of the comic book-inspired movies were like this.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
August 11, 2003
It vibrates with creativity and hums with brilliant performances.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 8, 2003
You're in for a scrappy, free-form blast.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Scott Foundas
Variety
February 6, 2003
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.