Summer acknowledges reality of relationships

Love stories alone just will not make the grade anymore, and it is rare when a romance like (500) Days of Summer deserves praise. Narrated as a story about love rather than a love story, it has given itself free license to explore other facets of love other than boy inevitably gets girl.

Thus, it has allowed for an expansion on relationships to come off as something charmingly human compared to the dull stereo motions of previous films. Besides redefining on screen relationships, it has a cast punctuated by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a fine soundtrack and excellent writing and direction.

This story of love is about a boy meeting a girl and the relationship that follows. Tom, the boy and a greeting card writer who never got his dream job as an architect, and Summer, the rather distant but loveable girl, one day find one another to be interesting enough to engage in a casual relationship. There is nothing really special about that, and I will admit it. The plot is not necessarily exciting. However, it is more in the way the film uses this as a springboard and gives a fascinating display of a real, imperfect relationship rather than making a deep and epic tale of two people who are in love.

So with this slightly lame premise, I might understand if there is confusion as to how this could possibly be a movie that deserves praise.

Therefore, to better understand my feelings, I will give in my best ability an amalgam of films that will portray the substance of (500) Days of Summer.

It would fall roughly as a combination of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (without Ferris breaking the fourth wall), a genuinely funny romantic comedy (I cannot remember any in recent memory so feel free to fill in your favorite), and a complete work of non-linearity where the lack of chronological reference defining character growth brings a subtle freshness to each scene.

The film even goes so far as to include some French New Wave in a small portion close to the end. Essentially, the plot becomes vestigial when paired with the non-linear presentation anyway, so just sit back and enjoy the snazzy writing and each wonderfully crafted scene.

The amazing scenes and writing have Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber to thank for their creation. Although this is their second time working together and only their second time writing for a movie (the first being The Pink Panther 2), I feel they have pulled off perfect humor and made a lasting impression. The action and dialog on screen is witty and snappy.

The breaking up of Tom’s down periods and his happier moments allowed for the lighthearted aspects of his life to be preserved even through the moments of drama.

Throughout the film I was able to keep a satisfied little grin on my face. I could not ask for more from a comedic movie.

Well, I suppose I could, and that brings me to the director, Marc Webb. This is his first feature film, and I must say he does a fine job of wrangling the cast into manageable portions. Each character gets some face time to be in the sun, and no one really stands as the odd man out. The camera is positioned well enough to capture the spectacle of the city, the dejected faces and the elated smiles all with ease.

Well, speaking of the cast, the term adequate is also generally supplied, but I tend to believe the cast is supposed to be adequate. They are supposed to cover just enough to cast a similarity of relationships and friendships. Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt as a couple beautifully capture the mediocrity of everyday people.

From my mentioning of other films with similar aspects and some of my criticism, it may seem as though this is not the relationship-comedy movie of the summer that is a must see. Well, that would be the wrong impression to carry, as this is precisely such a movie.

Sure, maybe things here have been seen before, but not in such a seamless combination. It will put smiles on people’s faces and leave a feeling of great satisfaction with movie-goers everywhere. I do not care that (500) Days of Summer was not released to all theaters, it is a must see for everyone who enjoys movies.


(500) Days of Summer

GENRE: Comedy, Romance, Drama

STARRING: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Clark Gregg



RELEASED: July 17, 2009

OUR TAKE: **** (out of 5)