Film review: 500 Days of Summer (2009), directed by Marc Webb
The tagline of this film is “Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn’t.” Sums it up okay. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a greeting cards writer who has always believed in Twu Wuv, but he’s failed to find The One. Then one day, She walks into his life. She, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), is the personal assistant of Tom’s boss (Clark Gregg), and Tom falls instantly in love. How to win her heart?
Summer, on the other hand, had her illusions of romance destroyed as a child, when her parents divorced. There’s no such thing as Twu Wuv, and romance is dead. She does like Tom as a friend, though, and makes it clear to him that she’s not interested in a romantic relationship. Still, they sort of end up as a couple, at least as far as Tom’s concerned.
The story is told by Tom through a messed up chronology always specified by a title with a number indicating which day of the 500 days of Summer it is. His younger sister (Chloë Grace Moretz) coaches him in what to do, and so on, as if she was Yoda – even though she’s probably about ten.
This film sold me by being billed as a romantic comedy. I like those. I didn’t really like this film. The chronology was a little confusing – but could be lived with – but the rest just didn’t feel real, and both characters were dicks to each other. Tom for being clingy to someone who said from the outset she was not interested in him as boyfriend material – Summer for stringing Tom along for such a long time. After all, why behave in ways that were really rather relationshippy if that’s not what you want? Unless you’re both openly blasé about sleeping with each other, no strings attached, don’t have sex.
And if you know the other person’s head over heels in love with you and you’re definitely not and definitely won’t be, it’s your goshdarn responsibility to tell them, and let them down easy – not play along until you fancy moving along to something else!
Also, I’m not sure about Gordon-Levitt as a romantic lead, and I’ve seen a few things with Deschanel in recently and I’m starting to get bored by her. Does she only know how to play one character? She plays that character very well, but … I’m sorry, no. Which is a shame, because I used to quite like her.
As a comedy, it’s not that funny, but I do like Tom sticking up for his prinicples at one point at work … not that it’s a funny scene. Romantic? Well, nah. The biggest positive of this film is Moretz. Her wisdom-beyond-her-years is perhaps not very believable as a concept, but it’s delightful, and she’s a great young actress. The film, though, is too abstract.
2 out of 5 weddings.