Love, it is said, has the power to overcome the many trials of life and transcend every aspect of humanity. Paper Heart embraces the notion of this age-old question as to whether or not true love exists in the first place. This documentary style film focuses on the meaning of love as we follow Charlyne Yi through the first the United States and later Europe aiming to find out why she cannot experience such an accessible feeling towards another person. Paper Heart aims to uncover the guise attributed to love all the while leading Charlyne one step closer to finding its true meaning.
Charlyne is an awkward and confused girl who decides to capture her journey on camera as we follow her through interviews and private moments while she aims to discover the true meaning of love. In Paper Heart, Charlyne Yi, a quirky and non-typical film star, decides to make a film about the heart that inevitably takes a turn that not even she could never expect. As the film progresses Charlyne attempts to see aspects of this subject through the eyes of anyone she deems appropriate. This fearless quest leads her from a motorcycle hangout to uncover several endearing encounters, to the Los Angeles Zoo where she aims to capture love in its truest animal form. As Yi continues on her trail, we are also introduced to a plethora of elementary school children who ever so succinctly explain that love is well, love.
The title Paper Heart is a direct reflection of the adorable interludes between each interview section by the retelling of the story with the use of handmade paper puppets. Each dialogue is narrated with a puppet show that intentionally resembles the work of a first grader. Each time a couple shares the details of a former meeting or adored moment together, cardboard mountains, wooden dolls and cellophane waterfalls allow the viewer to find humor in these heartfelt situations. Paper Heart continuously welcomes aspects of love with a sense of comedy and energy that keeps the audience entertained and involved with the everyday stories as they unfold on screen.
Charlyne Yi, a now up and coming LA based comic and improve artist, who decides to use this film as the medium to figure out why she cannot find love. As a self-proclaimed tomboy, Charlyne, or Chuck as she is often called, spends much of her time with the boys but fails to find boyfriends. Each moment spent with her male costars exemplifies the fact that this girl is fairly clueless concerning a romantic engagement with the opposite sex. Through the course of filming, Charlyne meets actor Michael Cera who becomes immediately attracted to the young cynic and unaware that he will soon become the film’s newest co-star. The earliest moments of their courtship are reminiscent of a grade school romance, and yet these two individuals seem to be approaching their mid-twenties. This unintentional turn of events forces the plot into a direction that follows this budding relationship where every moment is begrudgingly captured on camera.
The reality of this documentary is brought to life continuously due to the breaking of the fourth wall. In almost every scene, the audience is made aware of the camera crew as they repeatedly prompt the subjects to engage in “uncomfortable” situations. This aspect therefore provides little difference between the on and off camera action allowing the viewer to never question the integrity of the film. The audience is conscious of the off-screen action as it is rarely edited out the frame. This decision allows for an honesty that showcases a group of young individuals that continue to discover the meaning of love. Paper Heart is an honest and endearing film about love that never aims glamorize the topic and leaves the viewer hopeful that maybe true love really does exist.
Starring: Michael Cera, Charlyne Yi, Jake M. Johnson
Director: Nicholas Jasenovec
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment