I watched the movie Paper Heart the other night, and though I thought it was going to be really goofy (because what movie with Michael Cera in it isn’t?), I thought the concept of the film was actually really interesting even though it’s technically a mockumentary.
The film is about Charlyne Yi, a comedienne who has never been in love and doesn’t quite believe it exists. She goes all over the country, from a playground in Atlanta to the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas, to ask people about love. She talks to psychologists, bikers and lawyers to try to get a sense of what love is and what it means. During the film, she meets Michael Cera and they start hanging out and becoming interested in each other, and the remainder of the film focuses on their burgeoning relationship.
The early parts of the film where Charlyne is interviewing people are the most compelling to me (sorry, Michael Cera) because everyone had a different description of what love was. A woman who got married at the age of seventeen described it as lightning bolts. A divorcee described it as a once-in-a-lifetime thing. A biker describes it as equal parts love and hate. Love is an experience that is unique and individual, but also one of those abstract things that requires a great deal of faith to trust in. Love makes a person so vulnerable; when in love, we’re like pieces of paper in someone else’s hands, waiting to find out if we’re treated with care or ripped to shreds. Which makes it really scary, but also makes it kind of beautiful. There is a loveliness in taking a chance.
How do we know that love is real? Do the heart and the brain chemistry and the circumstances all have to add up to a particular sum in order to qualify as love? I don’t have the answer, and though I wish I did sometimes, more often than not I’m willing to rest in the mystery of it and be content with not knowing. I wish I could feel that way about more things.