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The Best of 2009: '(500) Days of Summer'

(500) Days of Summer

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Incredibly fun and entertaining film that isn't a love story, but a story ABOUT LOVE. This might be one of the best romantic comedies I have seen in a long while, and I'd have to say I wish there were more with this film's sense of humor. There's something very funny about opening up your film with a character going through a nasty breakup and for some reason he has gotten stuck into 'break plates like a robot' mode and it takes his Yoda-like 10 year old sister (precocious Chloe Grace Moretz) to stop him. When he finally stops and drinks some Vodka made by aforementioned child, he goes on a "what just happened?" string of thought that even flabbergasts his friends. Thus begins an inventive exercise on selective memory for this main character.

This film's non-linear story features specific moments and specific days from a random selection of 500 days. They are the 500 Days that Tom spent with a girl named Summer. I have compared this film to The Girlfriend Experience which is like a twisted dark sister by comparison. This film is the happy-go-lucky, almost neurotic sibling. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives one of his best performances I have ever seen him give. There is a slight indication in the character of Tom that has some resemblance to his child actor roles, so this might have added to Tom’s childlike temper tantrums that we see. Zooey Deschanel was born to play this part, or perhaps it was the other way around, where the part was written specifically for her. Either way, she is unforgettable as Tom’s subject of affection. The two leads in this are pretty fresh to the eyes and ears and, because of that, it feels a lot more authentic than most romantic comedies that almost always star well known celebrities. The film's satirical approach works very well, especially if you're into movies and music.

The soundtrack is extremely eclectic and is a little distracting at times, but every song serves a purpose to echo their situations. Almost all of the film's charm is in this kind of humor: Gordon-Levitt looks into a mirror and instead sees Harrison Ford as Han Solo winking back, a Disney-animated bird (Mary Poppins inspired) lands on his finger at one point, the two characters compare themselves to Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, and we even see hilarious reenactments of scenes from French director Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless and Swedish director Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal made to parallel moments in their relationship. Director Marc Webb has created a moving photo album that makes us recall all the positives and negatives of any relationship. He even suggests that, like Romeo and Juliet, one relationship provides experience and preparation for the real one. Hilariously cute film!