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(500) Days of Summer (Review)

(500) Days of Summer (Review)

Hollywood meets art-house
Sep 22, 2009
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(500) Days of Summer
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance Release Date: 17/09/2009 Runtime: 95 minutes Country: USA


Director:  Marc Webb Writer(s): 
Scott Neustadter

Michael H. Weber

Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Clark Gregg, Geoffrey Arend, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Gray Gubler, Zooey Deschanel
(500) Days of Summer (Review), reviewed by Stephanie Lyall on 2009-09-22T11:58:02+00:00 rating 4.0 out of5

The disclaimer at the beginning says it all, “You should know up front, this is not a love story.”

And essentially, it is not. How can it be, when one of the parties does not even believe in the concept of love?

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) hit it off when they meet at the greeting card company where wannabe-architect turned copywriter Tom works. From here, they vie for the title of cutest movie couple ever – lazy days in bed, picnics in the park, shopping trips to IKEA, the works – with one major problem. Tom is head over heels in love, and thinks Summer is ‘the one’. But Summer doesn’t believe in love, let alone tying herself to a relationship, and maintains that their relationship is casual and friendly.

So far, this sounds like a pretty regular romantic comedy, right? OK, so the couple are arty and enjoy The Smiths, but their relationship issues could easily be translated to a Katherine Heigl film featuring Nickleback. Perhaps what sets their story apart, then, is the non-linear narrative. And the fact that only about half of the 500 days they are involved with each other are full of sunshine and rainbows.

500 days of summer051 280x260 custom (500) Days of Summer (Review)

(500) Days jumps all over the time period, as Tom starts in the middle after a break up to decipher just where the relationship went wrong and what he can to do win Summer back. He is helped out by his relationship guru team of all his little sister and his dorky but loveable friends.

But despite Summer coming across as the ‘bad guy’ who breaks Tom’s heart and then crushes it into the ground with a dainty ballet flat, all of the points she makes about relationships are truthful and logical. It’s easy to side with Tom, but her stance is ultimately not that unreasonable.

The film brings up relevant questions about destiny, fate and love, but perhaps the most pressing questions that arise is who designed the fabulous dress that Summer wears at their friend’s wedding and where can I buy it, along with which apartment is more divine: Tom’s or Summer’s?

But in all seriousness, (500) Days will be a winner for its mashing together of filmmaking fields and genres– Hollywood meets arthouse, while cheesy romantic comedy meets relevant, thought provoking drama. It is a perfect film to see with your friend who doesn’t quite share your love of indie film, or your boyfriend who wouldn’t be caught dead watching anything without guns. Its other strength is that it has a broad age-group appeal – fifteen year olds will identify with tales of unrequited love just as much as thirty-year-olds and beyond. Sure, there are some cheesy moments, including a rather humourous musical number, but at the end of the day the formulaic parts are not excruciating, but in fact, actually quite enjoyable.

Hooray! A rom-com out of Hollywood that has substance, style and a good soundtrack (including Aussie up and comers The Temper Trap)! But if you are after the traditional Cinderella ending, think again – you’ll leave feeling relatively satisfied, but perhaps not in the way you would expect.

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