User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 85 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 85
  2. Negative: 8 out of 85
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  1. BubicarA.
    Sep 10, 2003
    10
    Excellent stuff.
  2. MikeN.
    Sep 7, 2004
    10
    The only thing more amazing about this movie than the acting and plot was the way it was filmed. beautiful mix of reality and filming.
  3. KarenD.
    Aug 21, 2003
    10
    One of the best movies I've ever seen, and a whole new genre!
  4. JosephC.
    Aug 20, 2003
    10
    Doesn't get more ordinarily great than this.
  5. BryceP.
    Aug 30, 2003
    10
    Good movie....no seriously. In a time when movies (My bosses daughter, TLOEG, Uptown Girls, etc.) that should be released with a razor and bucket to all the audience member who need to slit their wrists, this movie really makes me happy. It seems now adays, movie producers have forgotten that adults actually go out and see movies, which is partially true since so many of these parents Good movie....no seriously. In a time when movies (My bosses daughter, TLOEG, Uptown Girls, etc.) that should be released with a razor and bucket to all the audience member who need to slit their wrists, this movie really makes me happy. It seems now adays, movie producers have forgotten that adults actually go out and see movies, which is partially true since so many of these parents with their yuppie kids find the only way to get them out of the house is by shelling out some cash for a movie so the kids can see Freddy vs. Jason for 2 hours. My point is, for any of you who have missed the fealing of watching an actual film created for adults, look no further. Plus, this movie also proves that you can also be funny without have one of your characters eat doggy poop. (Thank you very much American Wedding) Expand
  6. AaronM.
    Sep 18, 2003
    10
    Bub J., let me guess your favorite movies are 2 fast 2 furious, and bad boys II.
  7. CelineS.
    Sep 21, 2003
    10
    I love this movie. one of the most interstingly done movies around.
  8. Damngoodpicture
    Oct 4, 2003
    10
    There's not a movie out there now as funny, real, cranky or touching.
  9. JaneH.
    Aug 24, 2003
    10
    Very funny and very moving!
  10. MatthewP.
    Sep 20, 2003
    10
    Top notch. Giamatti and Davis are a revelation, and Pekar is a true working class hero.
  11. R.Dalvi
    Apr 11, 2006
    10
    Excellent. Liked the comedy as well as the dramedy. There was the nerd thing which I liked as well. Good movie.
  12. JoeyM.
    Nov 21, 2003
    10
    Giamatti, is should be noted, is splendid in this film. Ignore, for the moment, his uncanny immitation of Pekar. Just watch how he reacts to his first meeting with Davis' character - a mix of longing, self loathing, hope and despair that marks this as one of the most unique performances of the year. In my opinion, easily the best performance by an English speaking actor in the last Giamatti, is should be noted, is splendid in this film. Ignore, for the moment, his uncanny immitation of Pekar. Just watch how he reacts to his first meeting with Davis' character - a mix of longing, self loathing, hope and despair that marks this as one of the most unique performances of the year. In my opinion, easily the best performance by an English speaking actor in the last year. Certainly this movie is not for all tastes - it does not have a conventional story, for example - but as an innovative, funny and moving character studym it is outstanding. Expand
  13. ChadS.
    Sep 13, 2003
    10
    "American Splendor" is the best American film since "Almost Famous". You leave the theater feeling great. Sustained laughter, well after the scene is over, may happen to you on two or three occasions. And there's a scene between "Pekar" and his "daughter" that's unbelievably poignant. "American Splendor" reminds you what a film oughta do more often; to lose track of time, "American Splendor" is the best American film since "Almost Famous". You leave the theater feeling great. Sustained laughter, well after the scene is over, may happen to you on two or three occasions. And there's a scene between "Pekar" and his "daughter" that's unbelievably poignant. "American Splendor" reminds you what a film oughta do more often; to lose track of time, because what's happening on the screen seems like the most important thing in the world to you at that moment. "American Splendor" is a meta-movie, but you don't have to be smart or culturally advanced to "get it". It's very accessible. It's not elitist like "Adaptation". Expand
  14. RobertA.
    Feb 17, 2004
    10
    This movie is just wonderful. i really enjoyed it. Giamatti is great in this film. i didn't know what to expect when i put it in...but it ended up being one of the most uplifting experiences that i have ever had.
  15. SlipS.
    May 16, 2004
    10
    A really unique film. Very interesting, well done, and funny.
  16. russellkruz
    Nov 6, 2006
    10
    fantastic film.
  17. ButteredP.
    Dec 3, 2006
    10
    I've seen this move twice and I have to say, it's one of the best I've seen in some time. A great deal of humor lies just beneath the surface, and often times, it's just the absurdity and irony of the situation that is so unbelievably funny. Very inventive mingling of real people with their onscreen correlatives, and while this may be the one movie you'd think I've seen this move twice and I have to say, it's one of the best I've seen in some time. A great deal of humor lies just beneath the surface, and often times, it's just the absurdity and irony of the situation that is so unbelievably funny. Very inventive mingling of real people with their onscreen correlatives, and while this may be the one movie you'd think would not stoop to a happy ending.... well, see for yourself. Expand
  18. JoshW.
    Feb 11, 2004
    9
    It was certainly a great film and Paul Giamatti gave one of the years best performances. Despite how good it is, I personally feel that it got a little too much hype. Lost in Translation is a classic, this was just a great movie.
  19. KevinC.
    Feb 11, 2004
    9
    I had just finished watching a terrible movie (Underworld) when I popped this in the VCR. It totally restored my faith in movies. Completely originally done, and unlike any documentary/drama I've ever seen before. It's both humorous and sad at the same time. Very entertaining and excellently well done.
  20. BenA.
    Feb 16, 2004
    9
    VERY good. Well written, and well acted. I liked this movie; its style and direction was quite unique. It was like semi-documentary and semi-biography. Funny, entertaining, worth seeing it.
  21. UnbearableLightness
    Dec 16, 2003
    9
    Although there were some stylistic flourishes I felt would have been better suited for the cutting room floor, I loved this film. I loved it almost as much as I loved both "Crumb" and "Ghost World". Hope Davis is amazing. A film much better suited for her acting talent than "Next Stop Wonderland".
  22. Elliott
    Oct 5, 2003
    8
    By no means a great film, but nevertheless and entertaining one. It got off to a slow start and on many occasions it seemed as though it was begging to be liked. Strong acting all around however, and the approach to the story (from a directing standpoint) was nothing short of brilliant.
  23. SamL.
    Oct 26, 2003
    8
    What an exellent film. Wow, I haven't seen a good film in a long time, so this is a nice treat.
  24. J.RyanG.
    Jun 17, 2005
    7
    Technique gets in the way of substance on more than one occasion, but there is plenty of substance here. As a friend once told me, this film is about dreadfully ordinary people becoming something close to extraordinary, looking quite peculiar all the while. If only there were more SCENES - I mean whole, uncut, untouched, straightforward, unabashedly confident and beautiful SCENES.
  25. Oct 12, 2010
    7
    Large credit for the appeal of this film is the visionary direction interweaving comic drawings into the film and the masterful performance of Paul Giamatti. Deservedly received awards from independent film festivals such as Sundance.
  26. ClawthroughThehype
    Jan 18, 2004
    6
    The movie was quirky and occasionally fun, but it's way over-hyped. It's not bad, but it's not great either.
  27. ChristopherJ.
    Mar 20, 2007
    4
    I was excited about watching it, but then I didn't like it that much. It seemed to me like to much unjustified bitterness, if I remember correctly. I tried to watch it again, but I fell asleep.
  28. BubJ.
    Aug 29, 2003
    3
    Absurdly overrated.
  29. MarcK.
    Sep 24, 2003
    3
    What a huge disappointment. Unlike most critics (and Sundance), I found Pekar to be most unlikeable, and I wasn't thrilled with his quirky wife and "borderline autistic" friend. And were we supposed to believe that his appearances on Letterman were sincere rather than schtick? I don't think so. I couldn't wait for this movie to end.
  30. SpillyD.
    Feb 13, 2004
    3
    Don't understand the hype behind this movie. really dull and ultimately forgettable. the only funny parts were with his slightly retarded coworker. i can laugh more watching howard stern make fun of freaks. didn't like crumb either if that helps.
  31. AdamG.
    Nov 12, 2003
    2
    Just plain dull. If I wanted to experience a dull meaningless life, I could have just lived my own instead of wasting 90 odd minutes watching someone else's!
  32. Didin'tLaikit
    Sep 9, 2003
    1
    It just simply was not a good or entertaining movie in any way. While it was done well, it was a poor idea to begin with and a complete waste of money.
  33. [Anonymous]
    Feb 24, 2004
    1
    When this movie isn't depressing it's boring. It strives to be the opposite of a big high budget commericalized production but just because it's different doesn't make it good. It is refreshing to watch a story that is based on characters but not the ones in this movie. Waste Of Time.
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. 88
    One genuine small triumph of American Splendor is that the title isn't ironic. The movie is a splendid, inventive piece of urban Americana about that hardboiled original, Harvey Pekar.
  2. 91
    Thoroughly unique work of art.
  3. It's a humane and witty treatment of an average life that, incidentally, speaks to the worth and inherent drama of average lives.