|500 Days of Summer starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel|
Re-invention of the romcom? Or just what the original term of romcom was meant for? Either way, 500 Days of Summer is causing a stir at the moment for being both romantic in a genuine and non-cheesy fashion and for being comical without being gimmicky.
It’s a simple story of love and loss. No bull. No “race against time” or “pretend for money” high concept. Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls for his boss’ new office secretary Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) and so begins an eclectic look at their rise and fall as a couple (or not? As the case may be). The film jumps immediately to the beginning of the end with Tom smashing plates until his little sister gets him to explain how it happened. After watching a series of encounters between the two, and seeing a mutual appreciation for The Smiths, it’s obvious they are going to get it together. However, the more time spent with the pair, the more you can see that he loves her more than she does him. She does open up to him but never as much as he would like. It’s this flickering look at their time together which reveals to Tom that they aren’t as compatible as he first thought.
Both characters are played to perfection with Tom as the geek stuck in a job which is below him and Summer as a wide eyed, normal, yet strangely attractive girl who can never be pinned down by anything in life. She burns like a match, bright and beautiful, but for a very short time. Scenes are replayed, which first showed them as a perfect couple, this time showing the little subtleties of Summers waning interest but which were hidden to Tom by his love-goggles.
The film is well shot, with great use of split screen and the beautifully small intimate moments between Tom and Summer. There is also a perfect bright but melancholy soundtrack to boot, from Regina Spektor to The Smiths. Hollywood moments are done away with, bar Toms mocking dance-of-joy through the streets of the city after their first night together. The turning point is seeing Summer’s engagement ring which is a heartbreaking revelation for Tom but isn’t overstated (there was even a welling up in my eyes).
500 Days of Summer is a realistic tale of love, both the good and the bad, the little moments and the big moments. With the 500 days out of chronological order we learn the same lesson as Tom: love is good, but so is change, and that he has to get back on the horse and ride, AND, refreshingly, it’s the sweet, charming, cute girl who is the bad guy.
Official 500 Days of Summer website