(500) Days of Summer (7/31/12)

(500) Days of SummerMovie One Hundred Seventy Eight

A man and woman’s entire meeting, friendship, relationship, and breakup are detailed during the (500) Days of Summer.

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works at a greeting card company when one day, he sees the girl of his dreams, Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Instantly in love, Tom makes it his mission to be with Summer and over time, the two become friends. Summer is reluctant to be in a relationship, but her and Tom become more than friends. After their breakup, Tom seeks advice from his best friends and younger sister, Rachel (Chloe Grace Moretz) on what to do. The story is told in a non-linear fashion, jumping back and forth between the stages of Tom and Summer’s entire relationship.

According to the omniscient narrator, (500) Days of Summer is not a love story, simply the story of “boy meets girl” and since we know from the start that Summer and Tom break up, I suppose that is true. I strongly hesitate to call this a romantic comedy and while it does have the necessary elements of a rom-com, it is decidedly not a “chick flick”.

Had this film been made in the 80s, Tom would have almost certainly been played by John Cusack but Joseph Gordon-Levitt does an admirable job. Zooey Deschanel plays her usual cute, quirky self here but since this was the movie that kind of put her on the map, she is a bit more subdued than she is in that annoying Apple commercial. I think all of us have known girls like Summer, perhaps even dated one and I certainly can relate to Tom (though I wish I had his sense of dress). Having such a funny, realistic story really makes (500) Days of Summer a really enjoyable film.

Marc Webb, who recently directed the Amazing Spider-Man, is at the helm for (500) Days of Summer and his style works brilliantly with the characters and the drawings done on screen. The way the story plays out and the title card animations indicating the number of day reminded me a bit of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a connection I hadn’t made before but Eternal Sunshine is fresh in my mind now. Since relationship movies are practically a dime a dozen, when one stands out, it’s usually a good thing. (500) Days of Summer has the right amount of kitsch, humor, and sadness to make it memorable even if you don’t care for Zooey Deschanel.

I give it 4 life becoming arts out of 5.

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