Delayed Reaction: ‘Paper Heart’


I wanted so badly to be annoyed by Paper Heart (2009) and, in particular, Charlyne Yi. But instead, I found myself smiling throughout pretty much the whole damn thing. Though Yi is definitely an acquired taste, an odd bird, etc., etc., her charm and cuteness feels universal here. And unlike the rest of the population, yes, I enjoy Michael Cera. Dammit. It’s a clever documentary-style movie that explores love in a genuine, no-frills kind of way. Ultimately, it doesn’t just explore love and finding love, but also the issue of respecting one’s privacy – best shown through the metafilm elements. Yi and Cera play fictionalized versions of themselves, and real-life director Nicholas Jasenovec is portrayed onscreen by Jake Johnson. (I especially loved how, at one point, the film pokes fun at itself for being one of those “quirky comedies.” As Cera says sarcastically, “Yeah, we need more of those.”)

All of the dynamics between the characters ring true – the complicated friendship-turned-collaboration between Jasenovec and Yi, the romance developed between Yi and Cera, and all of Yi’s heartfelt interviews about love with people across the nation. By the end, it all just feels so satisfyingly honest.