(500) Days of Summer (2009)

16ddc-five_hundred_days_of_summer“This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.”

This one line is uttered by the very thematic narrator of (500) Days of Summer and it describes an aspiring architect-greeting card salesman named Tom Hanson who meets Summer Finn at the office.

This often inventive and imaginative romantic comedy highlights the highs and woes that come with a relationship. You see Tom and Summer are seemingly two conflicting forces of nature from the beginning. He is a hopeless romantic believing in fate and love at first sight. She does not quite buy into that stuff, and she is only looking for “a friend,” nothing too serious. The so-called Summer Effect is what draws Tom to her. She is seemingly a normal everyday girl, but there is something extra special about her. But you will see for yourself.

The film’s scriptwriters do an excellent job at highlighting the minutiae that go along with any relationship. The Smiths are a point of agreement. Ikea is a place to fantasize about the American Dream, the copy room can be a place of romance, and Ringo Starr’s “Octopus’ Garden” will always be a point of contention. Mind you, all of this is out of sequence because that’s the way the memories come flooding back.

There are days when the whole world seems to be smiling with you. The birds are singing, you’re Han Solo, and it just makes you want to dance. There are days when you have bed head and your dreams are broken. There is no longer faith in romance. One day it seems like the walls are coming down and you are truly getting to know this significant other on an intimate level. Another day a small squabble over a punch and soon enough you hate everything about her. Her smile, her knees, her hair, they’re all awful.

All these things happen to Tom because Summer is not looking for anything more substantial, but he feels he is getting mixed signals. They are finally reunited and he thinks this might be his second chance. However, expectations seemingly never mirror reality. He is disillusioned realizing movies, pop songs, and even greeting cards are responsible for the lies society feeds us about love.

Now Summer has moved on in a big way, the wounds still hurt Tom, but they meet at that same bench overlooking Los Angeles for a final time. So you see this was not a love story after all. However, remember the date May 23rd, a Wednesday. We do not know the outcome but if nothing else it was the day that Tom reaffirms his belief in love.

(500) Days of Summer was different enough to be an enjoyable film which was instigated by a nonlinear storyline that pulled us along through a relationship ( day 1-500). Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel were both enjoyable and Tom’s friends and sister had enough personality to add something to the film. The music is often fitting (“Sweet Disposition” by Temper Trap helps the indie vibe), and both leads got an excuse to work out their vocal cords.  By the nature of the narrative, the story jumps around a lot, seemingly leaving loose ends. Perhaps that is just my own hangup. Because, like any love story, this film may have its imperfections, but that is not to say it is not worthwhile.

4/5 Stars

 

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