Aug 05

500 Days of Summer: An All-Too-Real Love Story

by Nathan Atnikov · 0 comments

Director Marc Webb’s film 500 Days of Summer may be miscast as a romantic comedy, but it doesn’t take long to realize how far from the truth that is. Sure, the movie is about love, but it is an acutely aware film about love’s pitfalls and inconsistencies, and the difficulty inherent in finding “the one.”

Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is beautiful, smart, and a total nonbeliever in the notion of love. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an idealist, who believes he’ll never be happy until he finds his soul mate. When they meet, it’s love at first sight for Tom. Summer simply accepts his presence, and admits to finding him “interesting.” She is open and honest – she tells Tom that she is not looking for a relationship and never fully commits to him. The word “girlfriend” never comes up. Tom plays along, hoping for their extended fling to turn into something more. This, of course, can’t end well.

The movie guides the audience through their 500-day romance, and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber ingeniously unfold the film’s story in non-chronological order, showing snippets of the ill-fated couple’s romance through it’s various ups and downs. It plays out like one’s memories – Tom remembers the good things when he wants to, and the bad things when they suit him. It doesn’t happen in order in our minds, and it doesn’t have to happen in order on the screen. Occasionally the same footage accompanies totally different trains of thought, and the subtlest body language explodes with meaning. Tom agonizes over every detail; from the cadence of her voice to the way she shifts her weight when she’s standing. Your typical Katherine Heigl vehicle this is not. This is about what love is really like.

500 Days of Summer is being called a romantic comedy for no better reason than people need to call it something. What it is is a brilliant movie. It’s perceptive and nuanced, well-acted from every perspective, and not a note out of place. This is one of the movie gems of the year, likely getting only a limited run at Eau Claire Market. Don’t miss it.

Movie Trailer:

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