American Splendor

Rated 4.0 Documentary filmmakers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini venture into fiction (of a sort) with a screen adaptation of the autobiographical underground comics by Harvey Pekar and his wife, Joyce Brabner. They don’t abandon the documentary style altogether, though; while Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis play Pekar and Brabner, the real-life Pekar narrates, and he and Brabner appear between scenes, commenting on the action. The movie’s style is freewheeling, mixing fact, fiction and animation—whatever works best for the story—and Berman and Pulcini’s instincts are strong enough that they never put a foot wrong. Giamatti and Davis get under the skins of Pekar and Brabner, complementing the loose approach of the filmmakers. The film’s style is as unorthodox as the original comic book and is just as funny and true.