In 'American Splendor,' Paul Giamatti plays Harvey Pekar, the comic book creator who became famous as a recurring guest on the David Letterman Show. A resident of Cleveland, Pekar was a socially backward man who found he had the talent to translate the pain, loneliness and frustration of his own unhappy life into universal truths, writing material that other artists would then illustrate in comic book form. He began a series entitled `American Splendor,' which was really an ongoing autobiographical narrative, drawing on people and events in his own life as his source of inspiration.
The film, a pseudo-documentary of sorts, tells his life story by cutting back and forth between both staged reenactments of the events in the stories and interviews with Pekar himself commenting on those events. Paul Giamatti is the closest thing anyone would have selected to be the real Harvey. His take on Harvey is so intense that there are parts when we see the actor and immediately, the real Harvey comes on a different scene. Separating them is almost impossible, as Giamatti's performance leads to Harvey and vice versa. He is totally believable here.
He proves that whatever he is doing on screen is what we would expect the real Harvey to do on his own life. Giamatti should have been nominated for his performance, and in my opinoin should have won every best actor award that year. Hope Davis was also great, and it's amazing how much her natural voice and speech pattern resemble that of Pekar's wife. Overall American Splendor is a great movie. With great acting, great story, and a enjoyable experience.