Friday, July 17, 2009

Falling In Love All Over Again - (500) Days of Summer - Movie Review

(500) Days of Summer = A
Directed by Marc Webb, Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

Yes, there's actually another moving opening this week other than Harry Potter 6 and it's actually a great movie! A must see in fact!

Here's the anti-rom com of the summer, and it's probably the most down to earth, realistic romance to come around in a long time (even if there is an animated singing bird in the movie). Imagine indie sensibilities trying to do a romantic comedy with a cynical spin, yet still remaining optimistically romantic. (500) Days of Summer is the lovechild between that hope and cynicism. Plus with some subverted romantic-movie cliches thrown in for good measure.

The movie follows a young man named Tom as he meets and falls in love with a girl named Summer. Romance seems to bloom until Summer breaks up with Tom and Tom must re-evaluate the disintegration of their relationship. All told in the 500 days Summer affects Tom's world, but told in random order, flipping back and forth between the days. The movie gives you all the answers to the plot in the first few scenes and clips, but only until a second viewing do you realize how cleverly constructed the whole film works as a whole. The flashbacks and flashforwards actually work beautifully to revisit and remember the memories of love, and how a relationship may be reviewed and re-evaluated from different points along the way.

It's a beautiful film about the theory of love and romance that I've always adhered to, so I'm a little pissed that Marc Webb and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have made the movie that has always been brewing in my mind!

I'm going to skip over the rest of the plot to avoid any spoilers but the movie flips and twists the cliches of love, romance and romantic comedy movies all in an earnest and observant fashion.

The conceit of the movie assumes that all men would fall in love with Summer, which is where casting Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man, Elf) almost becomes an easy shorthand, with Deschanel continuing her easy flirtatiousness, smart wit and independent zest as Summer.

Tom is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He of 10 Things I Hate About You and 3rd Rock From The Sun, who has since grown up to do Mysterious Ways and Brick, but here, he truly shines as THE MAN! A newfound swagger and a lower voice to be taken seriously, and adoringly. Without ever losing an ounce of humor or charm, Gordon-Levitt is the perfect boyish foil as the cynical-too-cool-for-school who can lose all senses in the pursuit of love, and in the process, makes it incredibly easy for us in the audience to fall in love with his Tom, at least when we don't totally relate and see ourselves in him.

The supporting cast is terrific, including Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) and Geoffrey Arend (Greek) as Tom's best friends, Chloe Moretz as Tom's little yet wise-beyond-her-years sister, and Clark Gregg (The New Adventures of Old Christine) and Patricia Belcher (Bones) as Tom and Summer's boss/co-workers. There's also a nice cameo for Friday Night Light fans.

The film is also quite a love letter to the beauty of downtown Los Angeles, in a movie that definitely takes place in a Los Angeles rarely seen on film. It may be always sunny, but there's a lot of dark grey tones looming over the city, a theme nicely matched in the architectural plot (and plotting) of the film.

Strangely enough, for such a romantic film, this is probably not a early-in-the-relationship date movie. Either see this with your (single?) friends, or see it with your happily long-term-relationshiped partner. Nothing halfway. Go see it alone instead if you have to. Just go. But not together if you're in that "it's complicated" or "unsure" stage in the dating process. Just word to the wise. You may thank me for it after.

And if you want to discuss more after, including my pyramid scheme of love, feel free to write me. I've got tons of advice. I've seen it all! And so far I've had a great track record as a wedding attendee. Over 50 weddings attended, only 1 divorce so far!

Vance at


William said...

Thanks for the nice review. Been wondering what this film's gimmick, more or less, was. Sounds very interesting.

Just stumbled upon your blog. Really like it. I'll be visiting often!

Sayschnicklefritz said...

Excellent review/summary. In addition to being a sweet and touching tale, this movie was shot with incredible intimacy and affection. I saw this last weekend and came out of the theater feeling happy and sad and dreamy and like I wantes to see it again.

Information Review said...

This definitely wasn't what I expected from this movie, but I really enjoyed it. This is a quiet, thoughtful and reflective film. There is no other plot other than young people coming together, falling in love or not and getting on with their lives. Worth a watch definitely, just don't expect it to be your average romantic comedy.