(500) Days of Summer
Directed by: Marc Webb
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Clark Gregg
Running Time: 1 hr 36 mins
Release Date: July 24, 2009
FULL COVERAGE of (500) Days of Summer
Scorecard Review of (500) Days of Summer)
Reel Reviews Video Review of (500) Days of Summer & The Ugly Truth
Video Interview with Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The Songs, Soundtrack & Dancing of (500) Days of Summer
Plot: A boy (Gordon-Levitt) ready to fall in love meets a commitment phobic girl (Deschanel) and the two proceed to dance in and out of love over the course of 500 days.
Who’s It For? Do you think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a romance? Are you sick of the standard fair of The Proposal being considered a quality romantic comedy? Than march yourself to a theater and go see (500) Days of Summer.
Expectations: I have to be honest, I had pretty high expectations for this film. I only saw about 15 seconds of the trailer, knew it was in my wheelhouse (for romance movies) and turned the channel.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom: At first, it felt like he was acting, playing it up a little too much. I’m talking about the scene where he is breaking plates. Who slowly breaks plates slowly in front of friends? The answer — only people in movies. Thankfully, that only lasted a few minutes and then he becomes the perfect guy to watch fall in love. The narrator says he’ll never be happy until he meets “the one.” You believe it, and your heart will ache and swoon right along with Tom.
Zooey Deschanel as Summer: The eyes, the outfits, the voice and most important the attitude. I’m a fan of Deschanel. The scene that shows guys turning their heads to take notice of her, and how ice cream sales went up when she did the scooping … I believe it all. Plus, she carries just enough baggage that you don’t hate her for not believing in love. And she’s finally got a counter-part in Gordon-Levitt that feels right (no offense Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey). It’s easy to see Tom crushing on Summer.
Geoffrey Arend as McKenzie: He’s a good sidekick for Tom. He plays a good drunk too, when he awkwardly tries to get Tom and Summer together at the karaoke bar. But really, his last girlfriend is from the 7th grade? That means he’s gay or heading down the road of serial killer/stalker. I’m hoping for gay.
Clark Gregg as Vance: Any time Gregg is in a film it gives me another chance to talk about this greatness in the final episodes of “Sports Nite.” Here, he could have been a little more as the over-understanding boss. Pushing Tom toward misery greeting cards was the right decision. I needed a more from his reaction about Tom dropping some harsh language in another card.
Talking: Tom seeks advice from this little sister. Actually, he seeks advice from everyone. That’s what you do when you desperately want love but aren’t sure how to get it. There’s words of wisdom as well like, “It’s love, it’s not Santa Clause.” Plus, Tom makes an angry speech that really could be it’s own separate movie that dives into the idea of movies and songs hurting love for the current generation. They even find time to mention “Small Wonder.”
Sights: There are just a few moments that take a leap, and they all are affective. Tom has a dancing in the streets number after their first time in the sack. The different days change with the same picture, but it’s either sunny or gloomy based on what’s happening in Tom’s love life. They also make Los Angeles look like New York. That’s a rare feat considering not many think about architecture (Tom’s hopeful career) when thinking about L.A. Also, Tom and Summer see a movie called Vagiant, I know that’s a band, but is it also a real movie?
Sounds: The music pops and plays an important role for Tom falling for Summer. The Smiths, Summer singing karoake, a reference to Belle and Sebastian … these moments all blend into the relationship, just like in real life. And the actual soundtrack … so freaking good. Regina Spektor has “Us” and the painfully good “Hero,” the Temper Trap nails “Sweet Disposition” and Hall & Oates will have a comeback with “You Make My Dreams.”
Best Scene: It’s hard to pick one because of the way the film builds on the same moment throughout the film. I was close to picking Ikea (which could actually be three scenes). It’s expectations vs. reality with “Hero” by Regina Spektor that wins me over even if it’s heartbreaking.
Ending: The closure is there, and thank goodness. More importantly, is there a slight chance there could be a sequel? I’m thinking a Before Sunrise/Before Sunset kind of thing … but just for Tom. My fingers are crossed and I told Joseph Gordon-Levitt to consider it. Seriously. I did.
Questions: OK, let’s have this out … ARRGGGHHHHH! How could Summer get engaged so quickly?! At first I called foul because I thought it didn’t fit with her character and was just too much of a movie cliche. But, then again she defends herself well while sitting on the bench talking to Tom at the end. She is also someone who always goes with her gut, and reacts on impulse, so it’s very possible. The odd thing is, she sees Tom at the wedding (let’s assume it’s a Saturday wedding), and then invites him to the party on Friday. So that means this guy proposed to Summer sometime between Sunday and the pre-party. How special could that have been? Sounds like a douche. Or maybe he’s not. Maybe he didn’t go to the wedding so he could plan his proposal. Keep in mind, they break up at 290 days. That’s seven months for Summer to fall in love with someone else. It happens.
Rewatchability: I didn’t see this film with my wife the first time, that changed the second time I saw it. And yes, it holds up. I’m looking forward to seeing what extras are on the DVD.
Romantic comedies can be great. Typically, they aren’t. Most of the time they are filled with unbelievable potential and false chemistry that is just thrown on to the audience. This isn’t the case with (500) Days of Summer. You grow with Summer and Tom and feel like these are the best and worst of the little moments in a relationship. The constantly shuffling days add a unique quality that is slightly hard to explain. Most romantic comedies beat you over the head with the inside jokes and tiny moments between the couple, but here you get a glimpse, and think you understand a moment shared. But then later in the film, you get a greater understanding and truly feel connection to Tom and Summer’s relationship.
They really try to entertain with split cameras, a great narrator’s voice, songs and a classic rainy night moment. This is a film about how you remember a relationship. Sure, some will simply say Tom’s the girl and Summer’s the boy in this coming-of-age romantic comedy, but I think there are plenty of men who feel, think and over-analyze first love. I know I was in that group.
Final Score: 9/10