Film Review: 500 Days of Summer (2009)
500 Days of Summer (2009) – IMDb
500 Days of Summer: Directed by Marc Webb. With Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz. After being dumped by the girl he believes to be his soulmate, hopeless romantic Tom Hansen reflects on their relationship to try and figure out where things went wrong and how he can win her back.
(500) Days of Summer
Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), greeting-card writer and hopeless romantic, is caught completely off-guard when his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour, and in doing so, Tom rediscovers his true passions in life.
500 Days of Summer (2009)
Every year Hollywood offers us a glamorised view of romance; we have two individuals that go through many trials and tribulations before finally getting together and disappearing into the sunset to begin their happy ever after. It’s an overused formula but, as audiences, we lap it up every time. It doesn’t always work out for our protagonists though with some films tracing relationships that seem to go well but ultimately fall apart, that old adage that some things are just not meant to be. Others explore the painful theme of unrequited love where one character looks on hopelessly like Lionel Richie singing “Hello” back in the eighties or Florentino’s seemingly hopeless pursuit of Fermina in Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera. Marc Webb’s 2009 film, 500 Days of Summer, offers something a little different to the romance canon.
This is the story of Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who works for a greeting cards company but has aspirations of being an architect. Tom is something of a dreamer, believing in fate, in love, and in that endearing fantasy of meeting “the one.” Enter Summer (Zoeey Deschanel) who comes to work at Tom’s company and seems like the perfect woman for him. There is only one problem: Summer doesn’t believe in love. Hmmm, this could be a problem. The film traces a non-linear timeline of events between Tom and Summer as he tries to change her mind about love, while she is determined to maintain the status quo that has been her life until this point. The question is will Tom and Summer find common ground and make changes for one another, or is this relationship destined to fail?
The film’s opening tells us that this isn’t your typical love story and they’d be right. The dynamic here is fascinating with Tom being the one who is all about love at first sight and soulmates. So often I have seen stories where it is the woman who is very much the dreamer, waiting for her Prince Charming. It’s a tale as old as desert sands. Instead, Summer is clear about her views and convictions from the start but Tom believes he can change the way she thinks. The film’s non-linear approach avoids confusion by making it clear which of the 500 days we are focused on and by telling the story this way, we are party to a mixture of the good and bad rather than a romance that starts well and deteriorates. Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel are both excellent in the leads, having some great chemistry but equally conveying the flaws and idiosyncrasies of their respective characters. Even when things are bad, you find yourself rooting for them to find a way through the maelstrom. Ultimately, 500 Days of Summer is that reminder that nothing is guaranteed in any relationship, even for a couple that have been together for many years, and that those unions that do survive only do so with hard work and commitment on both sides, not to mention some ugly days along the way.
Verdict: A refreshing exploration of love and relationships with great turns from Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel.