(500) Days of Summer - Movie review
500 Days of Summer
I'm generally willing to give just about any romantic comedy a chance. I did, after all, watch The Jane Austin Book Club Movie. Did I regret that choice? Yes. Would I do it again? Absolutely. The genre has been subject to many atrocities, most often due to appearances by Sandra Bullock and Richard Gere, but rarely together at the same time, which makes me wonder if they're the same person...
500 Days of Summer actively seeks to debunk many of the preconceptions audiences have concerning "chick flicks" by stating, probably against better judgement, that it's "not a love story" from the get-go. Somehow, in spite of this statement, 500 Days of Summer happens to be the best love story I've seen on screen in quite a long time. Simultaneously funny and tragic, the film has an eye for observation that can't resist reflecting the audiences experiences with their own sweet tastes of bitter love.
This relationship is primarily presented with a focus on Tom (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and is revealed by the use of interspersed segments, his memories, of the 500 days he spent with a girl named Summer (Zooey Deschanel). These segments aren't presented in chronological order, but as far as memories are concerned, when are they ever? There is a refreshing amount of freedom here as the film takes whatever liberties it pleases to show just how, exactly, Tom is feeling. It can either be haunting in it's depictions, or downright embarrassing in concern to how authentic they really are. After all, who hasn't seen their reflection as Han Solo when things were going really well?
Lord knows I have.
Some of the devices put into practice are just brilliant, and if the spontaneous dance number doesn't convince you, the later use of split-screen images certainly will.
500 Days of Summer really is a rare movie. The director Marc Webb takes the liberty to assume the facade of those very Richard Gere and Sandra Bullock films we've been shamelessly used by for so long, and place them into a context that is undeniably affecting, revealing, and downright entertaining. He gets a lot of help from his performers too. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proven himself in serious roles before, but here he hits a perfect balance, one that is funny and heart-wrenching.