500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer comes from director Marc Webb whose main credits before this movie included mainly music videos and short  movies but will be more known for his upcoming work on one of the 2012 Blockbuster movies, The Amazing Spider-Man. As far as cast in this movie goes, there is a relatively small ensemble with its leads being played by the now more well-known Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, 50/50) and the indie film sweet heart Zooey Deschanel (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Yes Man, Almost Famous) as Tom and Summer respectfully.

Story-wise  the narrator of this movie,  Richard McGonagle (Victor Sullivan from the Uncharted video game series) sums the movie up in the opening lines  “This is a story of boys meets girl, but you should know up front that this is not a love story.” This makes this movie at heart a romantic movie but it also has very strong roots in light-hearted humour as we see a tale unfold on-screen of a tale of two types of people. Tom, a guy who believes he has found the love of his life in Summer, a girl who wants nothing committal from a relationship, much to the anguish of Tom.

What follows is a tale which flicks between various points in the relationship between Tom and Summer going from when they break up, to how they met, to how their lives begin to grow apart, and that awkward first kiss by the photocopier in the greeting card maker where they both work. It is this constant flicking backwards and forwards within the movie that creates perhaps one of the most interesting, and slightly more annoying features of the movie as the audience is constantly kept on its toes wondering at what point we are at now in this relationship.

Why do (animated) birds suddenly appear in this movie?

This constant flicking between the points in their relationship is well suited to the movie as it feels like it can not settle down on particular area to focus on within the tale, nor tell this tale in a linear fashion or tone. For example after their first night together we see Tom go out on his journey to the office where a musical number breaks out to You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oats right in the middle of the park. I appreciate that this is no doubt a visual representation of the feelings that Tom has at that moment but breaking out in a song and dance feels out-of-place and a little awkward.

Moving away from the flaw of this movie to what it does right, this movie offers a very new and interesting take on the romantic comedy genre of movies by taking what is a typical story and making it not about this relationship where you find “the one” but how you go about finding “the one” and getting over those who you believe is your soul mate, if you believe in those. This is pulled off superbly with the chemistry between both Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt. Both giving a very strong performance in this movie, supporting each other and bouncing off one another giving the real impression that they truly are a couple in love.

While this is perhaps more of a standard role for Deschanel being the girl everyone wants, for Gordon-Levitt it is nice to see him stretch his acting muscles with something more than action or intense drama but give the audience a character that is perhaps more everyman than super-man.

This split screen view of Tom's mental view and reality is one of the clever devices used in this movie

Away from the acting that is seen on-screen this movie has two other things which really help make this stand out, the first of these is the shooting of many of the scenes including the visual style, the second is the soundtrack. With the visual side of the movie the director and cinematographer make a real effort to show both what is actually happening in a scene but also what is going on in the characters mind, with this even becoming the point of one of the scenes within the movie. This actual mixing up of things visually adds to the movie in many ways but does it in a realistic manner unlike other movie such as Scott Pilgrim vs. The World which is heavy on the comedy side.

As for the soundtrack of this movie it is truly the perfect accompaniment to this movie, including songs such as Sweet Disposition by The Temper Track, Vagabond by Wolfmother, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths to name but a few of the tracks which never miss a beat in the movie and compliment as well as enhance the viewing moment’s on screen. Each song has a purpose, and even if you do not wish to watch the movie I would suggest you go and locate a copy of the soundtrack to give it a listen as this is something that you should have on your music player purely based on the music and artists performing.

Reflecting back on this movie, it does have some faults which can clearly be over looked when you take into account the refreshing story that is being told with an excellent cast accompanied, with a perfectly selected audio accompaniments, matched with a visual style that is at heart a little strange and quirky but fun when you get used to it making this a movie that is perhaps a little difficult to love out right but like enough to belong in your collection of movies.

DrDogbert (43 Posts)

My name is DrDogbert I'm a Movie geek, Gamer, reader, writer, down right plain normal guy who likes to talk to himself at times