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Review - 500 Days of Summer


Rarely have I left a film so happy and fulfilled. 500 Days of Summer shows us what happens long after most romantic comedies finish their third act and spool the credits. It starts at the end of a relationship (Day 299 to be exact) and skips back and forth through time, picking up its pieces along the way. This is an honest, funny movie about accepting, coping, and moving on when a relationship doesn't work; and 99% of the time, they don't.

"This is a boy meets girl story. It is not a love story," says the narrator, but that never stops us from rooting for Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Tom is in his mid 20s. He's a nice guy who graduated from college hoping to be an architect, but instead works for a greeting card company, writing little love rhymes on hallmark cards all day.

Tom is a romantic. When he sees the boss's new assistant walk by, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), he falls for her immediately. Summer likes him too, and before long they're making out in closets and causing mayhem in IKEA on a regular basis. The problem: Summer doesn't believe in love or commitments or boyfriends; she tells Tom this upfront and he does what I've done and what, I'm sure, millions of nice guys do all the time: he keeps going out with her, thinking her love will grow in time. And who knows, it might. Worth a try, right?

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are more likeable and accessible here than I've ever seen them. They play the kind of real characters you won't find in romantic comedies like The Ugly Truth. Tom and Summer don't follow the Hollywood romcom formula. They do and say what we, real people, might do or say in difficult situations. We get angry at them; we cheer for them; we get annoyed by them; we laugh at their jokes and goofs because we like them, not because we just like the jokes.

Director Marc Webb nailed it on his first try. 500 Days of Summer is his very first feature film, though he's directed a number of music videos. His unorthodox approach toward the movie's structure help's us understand Tom and Summer more than a linear three act romantic comedy could ever allow. By whisking through the breakups, rekindlings, and 500 little moments of Tom and Summer's relationship, we end up with a much clearer idea of who they are.

Webb is not afraid to use whatever film device helps him tell each moment of his story. We have music dance sequences, black and white home video, a narrator, and even split screen. In one great scene we watch Tom's expectations for an evening play out on the left side of the screen, while reality plays out on the right.

It's rare to see a film that is both moving and legitimately funny the whole way through. Marc Webb has some high expectations to live up to from now on. In the meantime, sign me up for 500 more Days of Summer. I can't wait to see this film again.


And here's the trailer.

Reader Comments (1)

Money is so intangible, its almost like a promise and a piece of paper.

February 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCrinantadmimi

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