Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloë Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Greg, and Yvette Nicole Brown
(500) Days of Summer was the directorial debut from Marc Webb, who would go on to make The Amazing Spider-Man three years later. The lead role is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who would go on to play Robin in The Dark Knight Rises, joining him is Chloë Grace Moretz AKA Hit Girl from Kick Ass, as well as Clark Greg who is Phil Coulson from the MCU. This is almost an origin story for comic book heroes from a decade ago. The only main character that hasn’t appeared in a superhero film is Zooey Deschanel, at least not yet. This isn’t a superhero film in any stretch of the imagination, although it does rely on magical realism a little bit. Instead, this is an emotional and moving coming of age story about love that burns fast and brightly before sizzling out.
Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) writes greetings cards for a living. Almost instantly he falls head over heels in love for his boss’s new assistant Summer (Zooey Deschanel). They grow closer, date and then break up, which leaves Tom feeling lost as he tries to get his life back on track.
The story is told in a non-linear fashion, it covers the five hundred days from Tom meeting Summer to the true end of their relationship, skipping back and forth to put piece after piece of the puzzle in place before you can step back and see the entire picture. On screen there is a counter that appears when the day changes. It’s a really strange way to tell a love story, because you almost know the ending going in. It really works in making this a unique experience. At the beginning of the film Tom says in a voice over that this isn’t a love story and when you see him broken moments later, you know that’s true. It’s not a love story, it’s more about healing after a break-up and how the memories won’t go away.
(500) Days of Summer is almost like a fantastical storybook. There’s the voice over narrating the story at points, which feels like something out of a children’s book. The phenomenal way the music interacts with the narrative, including a full-on dance routine, that oddly the musical Zooey Deschanel isn’t present for. There’s even a spot of animation to bring the magical realism full circle. It’s a truly whimsical and quirky story that feels like nothing you’ve seen before. At one point the screen splits with Tom’s expectations of how an event will go on the left and the reality on the right. It’s not played for laughs, although a lot of the film is funny (especially the Ikea sequence), instead it captures the struggle going through Tom’s mind.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are absolutely brilliant as the leading roles. Gordon-Levitt feels very relatable as the love-sick Tom. He almost stalks Summer in an attempt to get to know her. Deschanel is just as great as she is in everything else. The chemistry between them is immense and their relationship feels real.
(500) Days of Summer is about the beginning and endings of relationships. It’s incredibly emotional and a truly special kind of film. The cast are fantastic, and this is a must watch. Over the years since it’s release it has found a wide audience and deserves that and so much more.
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