An anti-romantic comedy - (500) Days of Summer reviewed


(500) Days of Summer (2009, USA)

Seen: Friday, 25th December 2009 (cinema)
Runtime: 95′
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel
Production House: Sneak Preview Entertainment, Watermark
Plot: Summer wants a casual relationship. Tom can’t help, but want more.


For anyone who wants a laugh, this is a promotional clip in which they do a Sid and Nancy sketch ;) Her accent is hilarious.
Also, here’s a scene from the film.

Impressions In Short
I enjoyed it. It’s pretty clever.

More About the Film
I watched it as something pleasant and light without giving it much thought. But I’ve since realized how much in this film is up for interpretation. If one wanted to, one could analyse this for days. The discussions on imdb are really worth a look.
The biggest “WTF?” of the film for me is that the male lead of the film is written like a female character. When this happens (which is quite rare) it’s usually because the character was written by a woman. This film is both written and directed by men.
The female lead, on the other hand, is written with masculine traits (a convention I’m more used to, but which is much more interesting when she’s pitted against a male character with feminine traits).
There’s a big thread on imdb about how writing the characters like this was necessary to tell the story. If Summer had been the romantic who can’t get over splitting up with a guy then she could have easily been labeled “pathetic”. If Tom had been the one looking for a “casual” relationship then he would have been labeled as a typical guy with commitment problems. This way, neither have labels (although I’ve seen an attempt to label Summer as one of the greatest villains in modern cinema, but personally I don’t think she quite fits that mould either ;)).
Another thing I found weird in this movie is how differently it can be read. Depending on what kind of mood you’re watching it in and what kind of experiences you’ve had, you can watch it as an uplifting comedy or a very sad and depressing movie (as demonstrated by this thread *grin*).
The ending in particular is up for a lot of interpretation. I thought it was fairly straightforward initially, but when I started asking myself questions like “why was she there?”, “what did this line mean?” then I suddenly found I could write a huge blog post on just the two final scenes. There’s a long thread on imdb on the “why was she there?” question, but careful - it has major spoilers.
Story aside, this was a film with a lot of style. It has some beautiful cinematography - they found their own unique style for it, loved the lighting. The way it’s narrated - jumping between different scenes was pretty unique. The whole design of it was great too and the two leads were cast exceptionally well - both for looks (they actually suited the design ;)) and for the parts.
Something I really liked about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s role was the whole architecture subplot (the character did architecture at university and is really passionate about it, but he doesn’t work in the field he loves). Usually, when they do those kinds of subplots, they don’t put much detail into them. Here, both the lines and the way he played it was kind of real. The moment he’s encouraged to talk about architecture, his whole face lights up and he starts talking faster. Weird detail, I know, but I really liked that ;)
And another thing I loved was that his closest confidant was his 11 year old sister - I thought that was brilliant *grin*

Yep, I think this is a fairly safe recommendation for most people.
I’ve seen some comparisons to Juno. They’re very different films (I actually prefer this one), but they’re similar in the sense that they’re both indie comedies, which have done very well on the mainstream circuit thanks to an unusual script.

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