July 29, 2009 > Movie Review: 500 Days of Summer
Movie Review: 500 Days of Summer
By Heidi Leung
Beginning the trailer with the narrative that "This is a not a love story; this is a story about love," 500 Days of Summer is a fresh attempt at depicting love during both its rise and fall. Tom is a boy who grew up watching too many romantic films and listening to one too many love songs. He feels that until he finds "the one," he'll never truly be happy. Summer is a girl who's seen the demise of her parent's marriage and consequently no longer believes that love is real. Both characters, armed with their biases, meet at a greeting card company where they work. Upon setting his eyes on her, Tom decides Summer is the girl he's been waiting for. The resulting relationship has him breaking out in song and dance one moment and escaping into depressive imaginary arthouse films the next. Chronicling the 500 days of their relationship, audiences are in for a treat.
Stunningly personal and realistic, anyone who's ever been in love will be able to relate to the film. Director Mark Webb and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Webber have delivered a modern adaptation of relationships in which the hopeless romantic is a male and not a female. This tiny twist already ensures the plot is more interesting, but the sequence of events is told out of order, cleverly ensuring that pacing is perfect. Somehow it's still easy to understand exactly what's happening because quite possibly, it's happened to everyone who's watching. Perhaps most clever of all is when the screen is split into two scenarios: what our hero is hoping will happen and what is actually happening in real life.
Because both characters are so loveable, it's hard to watch anything sad happen to either one of them. Obviously, the amount of emotion elicited by the characters would not be possible without the film's perfect casting. The leads Tom and Summer, are played by indie film favorites Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, both of whom are spectacular. The fact that they were placed together in this film only makes it better. Joseph Gordon Levitt's Tom, is loveable, sincere, and vulnerable. Zooey Deschanel as Summer is the usual quirky, sarcastic but funny, and undeniably cute girl. This recurring role she plays is endlessly amusing.
Another perk of this film is the soundtrack; a strange mix of the Smiths, the Clash, Regina Spector, etc... it is a combination of music the characters love and music that gives each associated moment an extra emotional push.
Overall, the film is brilliant, original, and stylish. There is no reason to miss it, though everyone should be warned once again that it is exactly as the narrator says, "This is not a love story. This is a story about love."