(500) Days of Summer (2009) is one of the most important love stories that isn’t a love story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Tom, who believes he won’t truly be happy until he finds the one he loves. This is due to early exposure to sad British pop music and a total mis-reading of the movie, The Graduate (1967). Tom meets Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel, who thinks quite the opposite and doesn’t believe in fate, true love, or any of that nonsense. Director Marc Webb takes you on a journey with these two as they both discover not only each other, but themselves in the process.
I think what I love about (500) Days of Summer is how these two characters are arguably two people that anyone can relate to. Not only because of their standpoints at the beginning of the movie, but also by the way they develop and find out who they really are and what they really want. If you haven’t seen the film, you’re probably assuming Tom and Summer end up together and embrace in a magical kiss at the end of the film before they freeze frame on screen and the credits roll. Like I said before, this is not a love story.
The dynamic of storytelling in this film is remarkable to say the least. As the title says, there are 500 days of Summer, meaning the film takes you over the course of 500 days. But instead of starting at the beginning and working to the end; or starting at the end and working to the beginning; the movie takes you all over the place. We’ll be in Day 87 of Summer, and then just when we’re hooked, we jump to day 154, and then get hooked on something from that sequence. Then we’ll go backwards and get the payoff from the previous events and so on and so forth. The movie keeps your head on a swivel as the numbered days go back and forth from lively and vivacious to dark and clouded.
(500) Days of Summer‘s unpredictability is also what keeps you closed in on these characters. Everyone acts out of character in key scenes throughout the movie and it confuses you why this person would do such a thing, but the performances of Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel keep you invested at all times. The characters create an expectation from audiences because you think you know where the story is going, but then expectation doesn’t necessarily match up with reality. A sad truth that not only reflects Tom and Summer’s story, but the story of a lot of our lives out there. We as a society build up events and scenarios in our heads and when things go awry (pronounced /əˈrī/, someone I met pronounced it /əˈree/ and I almost choked on my gin and tonic), we feel as if everything has gone to shit and the world is ending. A harsh reality that surfaces in this movie and lingers with you even after the credits roll.
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Amazing
(500) Days of Summer is a very important movie to me. If you look at my Top 50 list on this blog, it’s in my number 11 spot which is considerably high up. I watched this movie and it changed my perspective entirely on love and what it has to offer the human being. It has strong performances, great writing and direction, as well as a killer soundtrack including singers like Regina Spektor and bands like The Smiths. I HIGHLY recommend this film for any young adult, male or female. This is not, I repeat, is not a chick flick by any means of the word. It’s for any gender and it teaches great lessons for both.
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