Summer and romance go hand in hand with young hopeless hearts on fire sweltering under the sun lending its glory. Yet, love is always one of the hardest concepts to discuss or grasp. Sure, many have felt it and many have experienced the heartbreak it causes, but few can convey it well. Fox Searchlight has made bank on the fact that during this time, we want to discover what love means, so they shell it out during the summer. Speaking of which, one of their biggest involves both summer and love. I could think of crappier segues, but screw it.
2009’s (500) Days of Summer, directed by Marc Webb, brings us a story of love, but that is not a love story. Now, of course, there is a fairly attractive male in the form of Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the obviously gorgeous woman named Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) and the audience is taught to believe “Oh, these two are going to end up together and happily ever after” just on the two archetypes alone. This film manages to break those boundaries and focus on the aspects of these two flawed specimen’s perception of romance.
I assume a majority of the internet has seen this film judging by constant quotes and Tumblr posts about this film, even five years after its initial run, so this might be a shorter review than usual. Even better, Film a Week managed to get an actual Summer to help give not only a quick synopsis of the plot, but her take on the film before the initial Film A Week review. Without further ado, here is ELAC Campus News staff writer, Summer Gomez.
The quirky whimsical film (500) Days of Summer, directed by Mark Webb, presents a story of love with an unusual turn of events. Actress Zooey Deschanel plays the role of the sweet and darling Summer Finn, whom every male seems to admire.. especially Tom Hansen (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt).
After seeing Summer for the first time at their workplace, Tom falls hard for her. Tom and Summer then became more than just co-workers, and then they become more than friends. It later becomes apparent that Summer is not interested in having a relationship because she is not as emotionally attached as Tom. Although the two are not serious to begin with, Tom knows that he would be willing to spend the rest of his life with her. Summer then begins to blow him off and the two divert and head their separate ways, with an occasional bumping into each other.
The whole film is a reflection for Tom, as he depressingly looks back on the good and bad times that he had with Summer. Throughout these thoughts of the past, Tom’s friends and little sister desperately try to knock some sense into him as they tell him to get over Summer. The ending is quite plain and simple, as Tom finally discovers what he must to to make himself happy. (500) Days of Summer is a great movie to watch if you want to feel depressed.
“This is not a love story, but a story about love.”
(500) Days of Summer delivers a wondrous deconstruction of both the hopeless romantic and the manic pixie dream girl archetypes with stylistic direction by Webb. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Tom with the strength and fragility anyone can relate to. His hopelessness as Tom relies on the fact Tom’s perception of love is based mostly on the Hollywood version of “the one” only to wonder that it might all be bullshit until he sees Summer again. He was infatuated with the idea of Summer, rather than being in love with Summer. JGL (as the cool kids call him) switches back and forth from the charming Casanova to the broken man with ease and not for a second do us as the viewer not believe him. Zooey Deschanel as Summer plays one of the best breakdowns of the Manic Pixie Dream. Summer believed that love was merely a fantasy, yet Tom made her see it differently. In fact, Summer points too fine a point on it saying that love was something she was unsure of with Tom. Even though they had great times, they could never become more than what they were: friends with benefits. Summer took note of of this and saw it a point to find someone who can provide “true” love.
Translation: Summer is not a bitch, just needed something real and not a fling.
As for the film, Marc Webb’s direction is superb using his music video background to jump from French new wave cinema to a musical number of Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” as the non-chronological order seems to jump seamlessly. The script by Marc Webb and Scott Neustadter is tight knit and seems like a less manic, more comedic Eternal Sunshine while covering the dark sides of one’s obsession with romance. The only major problem I have with this film is the ending. Not that it is a bad ending, it is the fact that Tom learned is lesson to move on, but still might have the ideology that love is bullshit. The narrator is even cut halfway to leave it up to us to determine whether Tom has truly learned or not. I can see what they were going for, but the ending always felt like a cop out. It could have ended with the conversation at Angeles Park, but oh well, I a would love to see the real ending for once (I had the same problem at the end of Ruby Sparks). It is a long 500 days, but filled with both heartwarming and heartbreaking moments combined with unique takes on the romance genre by giving us the ultimate story about love.
Next week, guest writer Editor-In-Chief Megan Perry of ELAC Campus News steps in to the world of a legend that has ruled the summer box office since dropping from a skylight on the screen in 1989. Yet, even legends have a beginning. Before the rise, before the mark as the Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne must learn to become the man behind the cowl and face off against Gotham’s threat from the nightmare created by the Scarecrow. Oh yes, Film A Week is covering Batman Begins.
Saturday, May 18th
Part of Take Back the Summer Cinema Month