Paper Heart

a kate west review
directed by Nicholas Jasenovec
written by Charlyne Yi and Nicholas Jasenovec

Winner of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, "Paper Heart" is a documentary (of sorts) about love. Charlyne Yi (experienced stand up comedian) does not believe in such fantasies. Or so she claims. But she wants to find out more, so she journeys across America, interviewing folks about their different definitions of l'amour. And naturally everyone has a different answer for her.

The movie blends reality and fantasy (such as actor Jake Johnson playing Director Nicholas Jasenovec, who actually exists and is actually the director) and while this may be confusing to some, it does give the film a definite sweet charm and appeal. Yi is the wide-eyed non-believer, quizzing everyone from children in a playground to hard core Harley Davidson bikers. The interviews are candid and touching and while they don't necessarily offer real insight into true love, they are hopeful stories of that amazing thing that happens when you finally meet just the right person in just the right way. And even more delightful, much of the lovers' stories are acted out by paper puppets, with half-finished backgrounds, adding to the theme of childlike wonder.

In the course of the film, Yi eventually meets Michael Cera ("Arrested Development", "Juno", "Superbad") and in spite of her many protests, ends up liking him after all. Their courtship is played out under the camera's scrutiny, part scripted, part real, as the two really fall for each other. There are a lot of cute moments as the couple attempts to elude the cameras and later try to make their love work in spite of the intrusion. Cera is his usual subtle, quirky self, delivering lines in that uniquely funny style of his and his youthfulness is the perfect match for Yi's immaturity. It's a simple story about a personal quest for love and who among us can't relate to that? It's the perfect length too. Any longer and one might become impatient with Yi's childishness. But in the end, her naivety leads her to a pure love.

"Paper Heart" is a sweet movie, which fulfills our childhood fantasies of romance, acts it out with paper puppets and tries to figure it all out for us. Exactly what is the difference between what looks good on paper and the reality of love? You might not find the answer to that, but you will enjoy looking. The moral of the story then has to be that one should always be open to love, because you will inevitably find it in a place you least expect. So stay positive, friends.

Watch the Trailer Here:

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