(500) Days of Summer

Monday, August 10, 2009

Warning this review might contain some spoilers.

I finally went to see (500) Days of Summer, the film I have been anticipating and hyping since February. It’s a long time to wait for a film and within that time the hype grew and grew. Then on a Saturday night I entered the theater finally after 6 months of anticipation with my expectations running so high. The film started with soft classical music slowly gaining momentum, reminiscent of fantasy films, then a narrator with a very deep and authoritative voice starts talking. His first line “This is a story of boy meets girl.” An introduction is given about the two main characters Tom, the boy who falls in love, and Summer, the girl who doesn’t. At that instance, two minutes into the film, I knew this wasn’t your ordinary cliché-ridden romantic comedy, I realized this film is going to unique and unlike any other. In a time where romantic comedies seem to be empty, superficial, and lacking any real heart comes (500) Days of Summer which comes like a refreshing breeze in the sea of dry romance films. This flim blew my mind, it was witty, funny, new, and engaging.

First let me start with the two stars of the film, Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, two actors I have complete love for. Zooey Deschanel a beautiful woman who always plays the strong female lead extremely well. She has a talent for playing the corky, weird, and slightly off-beat female. Then there is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is one of my favorite actors right now. Star of one my other favorite romantic comedies, 10 Things I Hate About You, and star of many other wonderful films such as Brick and The Lookout. Gordon-Levitt has the talent and is an amazing actor of the top most quality and I see him going great places in his art. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt blended very well in this film. In most romantic comedies you need to feel the chemistry between the two leads but in this film it was different. The film is about the full course of a relationship, the beginning, the middle, and the end. And throughout the film you see the development of the chemistry between the two leads but then you also see the slow deterioration of the chemistry between them. The film expertly explores the development of innocent and naïve love. Many people might find the fact that this romantic comedy is not quite the love story as all the others, many people might find it depressing because of that fact. But on the contrary this film shows the ups and downs of relationships and being in love while the other person is not is a hard thing to go through. This is where the film is at its strongest. Even though it shows a relationship that doesn’t quite work out, it’s still a beautiful thing. So many memorable experiences and joyful experiences are created that will pristinely forever live in happiness. We tend to look at relationships and only think about the outcome, when really it isn’t only about the outcome, what is most important is what one goes through that relationship. Even though a relationship doesn’t work out in the end, there are so many things that happened during the relationship that made you happy, those moments should be cherished. Marc Webb, the director the film, did an excellent job at capturing these small moments that live pristinely in happiness and joy for the rest of our lives. The lingering shots of Summer’s face, of Tom and Summer holding hands, of the smile on their faces, all are shots that make this film truly wonderful. In real life the small moments of seeing the one you love smile, laughing, and glancing at you are the images that keep playing over and over in our heads. Marc Webb of course knows this and he expertly incorporate those lingering images into his film.

I also have to praise the cleaver use of an omniscient narrator, who had no relation to any of the characters in the story. The narrator had a deep voice and was very well articulated, reminiscent of nature documentaries or other films like Little Children. To me the film sounded more like an anthropological study on the workings of love, a dive into the inner-workings of human nature. The narrator added an authoritative and serious tone to this romantic comedy. It made the film feel important to me, hearing the narrator made me feel like I had to listen to this film, take the opportunity to learn something new from this two-hour exposition of falling in love.

As for the soundtrack, it was completely amazing! An enchanting and such an engaging soundtrack filled with many memorable songs ranging from indie artist such as Regina Spektor, Feist, She & Him, Doves, Wolfmother, and the Temper Trap, and it also had a couple of classics from the 80’s such as The Smiths, Hall & Oates and Simon & Garfunkel. A big influence of this film I think comes from songs of The Smiths, anyone who holds The Smiths close to their hearts knows that their lyrics are about the pursuit and search for love. Tom is desperate for love and as they say in The Smiths song, There Is A Light The Never Goes Out, “And if a double-decker bus crashes into us, To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die” Tom is desperate to find love and he feels that he would only feel happy once he does, no matter how dire the circumstances. No wonder Tom falls head over heels with Summer, once he finds out she likes the Smiths. Also with the other songs such as Sweet Disposition by the Temper Traps and Us by Regina Spektor are perfect love songs, expressing the small moments of love we all experience in our lives.

(500) Days of Summer follows a non-liner story sequence, a definitely interesting choice for this type of film. But I think the fact that it was structured this way allows the audience to feel more empathetic for Tom. As the audience we are put into Tom’s shoes. We experience his overwhelming sense of love then his despair of that love not being reciprocated back to him. Tom represents the every-day person. Every person goes through an up and down through their relationships. We sometimes love someone who doesn’t love us back. Tom’s experience is a growing experience, a story of growth and learning about love. The way he learns might seem harsh, but in reality it’s a beautiful thing, because he learns about love and he learns that love is always out there. There is someone out there for everyone. The fact that Summer ended up finding someone else but in the most seemingly random circumstances in the same exact way Tom has always expressed he wanted to find true love, shows that Tom’s view of love is correct even though his relationship with Summer didn’t work, as the narrator stated “This is not a love story. It’s a story of love.” Tom learned about love and was able to later find love. At the end when Tom seemingly coincidently met with someone else that seem to have created a love spark, shows that his view of love was always correct he just had to find the right one. The film shows another very important thing, it’s always good to give someone a chance. True love might be found in the most unexpected of places or even in the most obvious of places. We simply don’t know where true love lies, we have to go out there and find it. We have to love someone in order to find someone to love us. Tom’s relationship with Summer wasn’t a lost cause. It was a wonderful chance to learn something new and spend some precious time with an amazing person. Sure it didn’t work out, but Tom loved and could always love again. There is no limit to how much we can love, so we all have to take advantage of those moments of sweet disposition we experience when we fall in love. (500) Days of Summer was a wonderful film that I have fell in love in with. There are rare times in movies where I have a glowing smile from beginning to end. The actors were amazing, the cinematography was simply memorable, the story was enchanting, and the ending was awe-inspiring. I love (500) Days of Summer.

“a moment, a love
a dream, a laugh

a kiss, a cry

our rights, our wrongs (won't stop til it's over)”

These lyrics are simply BEAUTIFUL.