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Overall Rating
4.11

Awesome43.48%
Worth A Look: 41.3%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 13.04%
Total Crap: 2.17%

5 reviews, 16 user ratings


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(500) Days of Summer
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by William Goss

"She & Him"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2009 SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL: Tom is in love with Summer. There’s a hitch, though: Summer doesn’t believe in love.

Because Tom is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, we root for him and his punch-drunk ideals of romance, even when things go sour (the film’s non-linear structure informs us fairly early on that a break-up is in the cards). And because Summer is played by Zooey Deschanel, we can easily see why he’s head over heels for her and yet accept her reluctance to anchor herself down with a proper relationship, a factor that Tom seems all too willing to ignore (hey, it’s not her fault if he’s the lad who always mis-read the ending of The Graduate all these years).

500 Days of Summer is as much a story about young love as it is a tale of today’s young love, of a generation raised on pop-culture paragons of affection and desperate to achieve it, and music video veteran Marc Webb can’t help but bring Tom’s whims to lively fruition. There’s a priceless post-coital musical number set to Hall & Oates that has our hero cheered on by singing, dancing strangers and envisioning himself as a specific model of suave machismo too good to give up here. There’s a black-and-white uber-foreign detour that’d make Fellini and Bergman proud, and there’s a particularly potent side-by-side unfolding of a scene as it goes down in Tom’s head and as it takes place in real life. As much as Webb and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber might like to think they’re re-writing rom-com convention, though, they’re not – they’re merely re-arranging it, reveling in the chance to juxtapose the sweet with the sour, and granting us viewers about as much foresight from the start as Tom has hindsight in the relationship’s later days (hint: they don’t break up right on Day 500). The end result of all this back-and-forth is not entirely unlike that of Annie Hall, a film that I'm sure the filmmakers have seen and a film that I suspect Tom has somehow missed out on.

However, as aware as they may be on the influence pop culture has on their story and its characters, they still succumb to the predictably brash colleagues and best buds that only exist on-screen, not to mention the wise-beyond-her-years little sister (Chloe Grace Moretz, who plays it to the hilt, but just doesn’t need to be there), and eventually, they do ditch the melancholy and enlightenment that rewards the second half in favor of sentiment and some too-clever wordplay. So much for taking two steps forward with every look back...

But in more subtle ways and for most of the movie, they do succeed in reversing the roles of romance (i.e. the boy wants true love and the girl’s afraid of commitment) and even giving up the ghost when it comes to lovey-dovey B.S., if only for a stretch. The narrator tries to warn us upfront that '500 Days of Summer' is not a love story, but by the end, it totally is. In between, though, it’s a sometimes astute, often charming look at what it means to be in love with both a person and the very idea of love itself, as molded by all those greeting cards and all those pop songs and, yes, all those movies.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=18196&reviewer=409
originally posted: 06/30/09 22:52:41
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2009 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 RiverRun International Film Festival For more in the 2009 RiverRun International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Independent Film Festival of Boston 2009 For more in the Independent Film Festival Boston 2009 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Philadelphia Film Festival For more in the 2009 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Florida Film Festival For more in the 2009 Florida Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/05/15 David Hollingsworth Clever and refreshing. 5 stars
2/10/12 PAUL SHORTT CLEVER, HONEST AND CHARMING 4 stars
3/10/11 art CHLOE MORETZ moved on to BIGGER and better thing's[KICK ASS,LET ME IN}. 1 stars
9/12/10 Simon Really innovative take on it's-been-done love stories. Contrived but contrived appealingly 4 stars
6/11/10 MP Bartley Not as clever as it thinks it is, but clever nonetheless. 4 stars
5/06/10 Ionicera Somewhat clever and likeable but not very deep 4 stars
3/03/10 Stanley Thai A unique romantic comedy told in an ingenious and creative way. 5 stars
2/28/10 Brian Mckay Funny and creative "Boy meets/loses girl" story. Levitt and Deschanel are great together. 4 stars
12/13/09 Flounder Extremely original screenplay and fantastic performances around. Deserves an Oscar nom 5 stars
12/05/09 matt It was good, but I probably wouldn't watch it again 4 stars
11/28/09 -Loved Nice. perfectly enjoyable, plus I loved Zooey no end 4 stars
9/25/09 Akemi Gardiner The movie had a very realistic take on relationships. Loved it! 5 stars
9/11/09 BTC It deserves the hype, and should win an oscar for best original screenplay! 5 stars
8/31/09 Omar I'm not a big fan of romantic films, but this is excellent. 5 stars
7/23/09 sleestakk was expecting something more conventional; was pleased it was rather not. nice review! 5 stars
7/18/09 Rio It had the potential to be Another Stupid Hipster Movie, but it wasn't. Beauty. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Jul-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 22-Dec-2009

UK
  N/A

Australia
  17-Jul-2009
  DVD: 22-Dec-2009




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