"Has anyone been in love?" asks our unassuming documentarist Charlyne Yi in the opening scene of Paper Heart. She's standing in the middle of our modern-day temple of public opinion—a mall—asking passersby this tender yet tough question. But no one stops to answer. They just glance at our hoodie-d protagonist with the sad little microphone and keep on walking.
Exploring the existence and nature of true love isn't going to be an easy assignment.
But then Charlyne already knew that. The real-life stand-up comic was actually motivated to embark on this quest by her own skepticism. Despite the charming flashbacks to young Charlyne marrying off stuffed animal couple Kermit and Miss Piggy, the now-20something claims she doesn't believe in love. The slick Hollywood version and cookie-cutter fairy-tale imitations have turned Charlyne off from love completely.
So she sets off across America with her buddy Nick to film a documentary either proving or disproving her loveless theory. Along the way, she discusses relationships with a 43-year-old divorcee while they play pool in his Nashville basement. She receives a lesson in the biology of love from a professor at Texas Tech University. She listens to the love story of a Little Rock couple who have been married for 50 years. She gets dating advice from grade school kids on an Atlanta playground. She also talks to a wedding-chapel Elvis impersonator, a romance novelist, a diner full of bikers, a homosexual couple, teenage newlyweds, a judge and lawyer (who happen to be married), and a psychic.
A couple of the love stories are portrayed with clever homemade paper dolls, made by Yi herself. These scenes are playful and endearingly amateurish and somehow seem to capture the childlike ...1
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