Review of (500) Days of Summer

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Director: Marc Webb

 

With: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler

 

A voiceover at the beginning of this smart little romantic comedy warns, "This is not a love story." So we know right away not to completely trust the film, even as it grows more and more endearing. Then again, movies can be relentlessly charming, and this one is particularly sweet. The writing (by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber) is sharp but not shallow, knowing but not sour. The actors are well-matched and fun to watch. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brick, Mysterious Skin) plays Tom, a frustrated architect stuck in a job at a greeting-card company. Zooey Deschanel (Elf) is Summer, his enigmatic love interest. Their story unfolds in out-of-order vignettes selected from among the 500 days of Tom's obsession with Summer. Webb, a music-video director, adds some tricks that either enhance or distract from the story, depending on your point of view: there's an over-the-top Disney-esque musical number, for example, and at one point the screen splits in two, with one side showing Tom's expectations of an evening and the other his disappointing reality. The film is funny and good-looking and emotionally realistic. It's difficult not to be swept away by it, despite the warning - and of course that's exactly what happens to Tom. Summer has said from the beginning that she doesn't want a boyfriend, she wants to keep things casual. But she's so adorable that Tom is helpless to stay uninvolved. In the end, the movie isn't quite a love story - rather, it's a comment on the irresistibility of the romantic myth that equals love in the movies. We're trained to hope the boy-meets-girl setup works out, that the two attractive people are paired up before the credits roll. (500) Days of Summer certainly doesn't crush that hope, or even mock it, but it raises interesting questions about whether that formula is what we really want, and whether it has anything to do with love. A-

Comments

I concur

500 Days was my favorite movie of the summer, by far. I was so impressed by how in sync I was with Tom's feelings, especially when he realized how swept away he had been (plus, he's so cute!). It stuck with me for days. I liked the musical number; I even got the soundtrack. Nice review!!!!

 

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