“(500) Days of Summer” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Grace Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Clark Gregg
Directed by Marc Webb, Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“(500) Days of Summer” struck me, and not in a good way. I enjoyed it upon reflection, but not at first. I felt sad, depressed, and filled with angst immediately following my Valentine’s viewing of “(500) Days of Summer.” However, like aforementioned, my initial reaction was more based in the circumstance, rather than the actual quality of the film.
“(500) Days of Summer” falls into a sub-genre of the standard romantic comedy–one that I can’t really put my finger on. I am almost positive that there is a name for it, yet my knowledge of film classifications is most impressive once I strike moot. At parts “(500) Days of Summer” fit the rom-com bill perfectly; however, on the whole it’s an entirely different beast. It exists in a subset. It tries to more deeply explore the idea of love, rather than giving audiences another difficult kindling of a couple not meant to-be/meant to-be.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays, Tom. I wouldn’t call Tom ‘helplessly romantic,’ but he is definitely more-inclined to romanticism. He believes in true love and the concept of a soulmate. His counterpart, Summer played by Zooey Deschanel, feels oppositely. She possesses that certain kind of ‘x-factor’ and subsequently has been hit on her whole life.
So what would happen if these two met and fell in love?
That is precisely the intent behind screenwriters, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber’s “(500) Days of Summer.” The plot is uniquely structured in that it skips around a 500 day period of Tom’s life during which Summer played an influential role. The two obviously fall in love (after meeting as coworkers), but the real heart of the movie begs the question: Is this the one?
As an audience member we get to see the goofy moments, the fights, the make-ups, and all-of-the other little joys and horrors of life’s relationships. The story skips around never linearly progressing through the ‘500 days,’ yet the conversations amongst Tom and the rest of the cast compound to create a cohesive and synergetic film.
Funnily enough, the end of the film is quite surprising and poignant in the fact that it doesn’t end in the manner that you would hope or expect it to. Not only does “(500) Days of Summer” focus on the trials-and-tribulations of relationships, but the gray. That area between Venn Diagram circles that causes most so much anguish and joy.
I found the acting to superb. Joseph-Gordon Levitt nails his performance and Zooey Deschanel is excellent company. They have wonderful onscreen chemistry. It seems a bit of a different role for her (not the typical Manic Pixie Dream Girl role), but it works. The supporting cast is small, but their scenes are wonderful. Tom’s friends and sister, played by Geoffrey Arend, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Chloë Grace Moretz, add to Tom’s personality by creating a funny trio (sometimes quatro) of banter–a type of banter that we have all had with our friends and can easily relate to. Clark Gregg’s portrayal of Tom’s boss is perfect. At times, I wish I had such a pragmatic boss! Talk about rolling with punches and playing to people’s strengths during a time of emotional turmoil.
The nonlinear structure definitely plays to the quality of the cinematography in a very positive manner. Life is chaotic and doesn’t make sense, until you start to piece it together after the fact. The cut of the movie accentuates this, which (again) furthers the relatability of the film.
Directing-wise, Marc Webb keeps things in focus when they could easily have gotten off track and into confusing tangents that would have been detrimental to the film. His skill is definitely praiseworthy and on that note I will leave you with this:
Check out “(500) Days of Summer.” It’s not your typical romantic comedy. It’s something more. Something to be covenanted and something to entertain ideals with in spare moments. It’s a great film. Even with my initial reaction I can say this comfortably.