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(500) Days of Summer

A 2009 romantic comedy film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel

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500 Words about (500) Days of Summer

  • Oct 6, 2009
  • by
 Perhaps the best way to describe (500) Days of Summer is to explain what it is not. Right at the outset, the unseen narrator warns, “This is not a love story.” But you may not be prepared for exactly how much it’s not a love story. This is not a standard-issue chick-flick tale of a klutzy cute girl who stumbles into a nice guy, or a drop-dead gorgeous career woman who figures out that her job is distracting her from her heart; and nowhere is there a grumpy man-child who must learn to grow up to get the girl. In a reversal of the usual tropes, Tom instantly falls in love with Summer, who openly declares her disdain for the very concepts of love and relationships.

(500) Days is a chick-flick for guys. It reflects a guy-centric view of one specific relationship. Told in a piecemeal fashion resembling the random recollections of a drunken buddy, the audience gets the gist of the story of Tom and Summer by glimpsing moments both large and small from all along the timeline of their relationship. The story careens madly from the middle of their story to the beginning to its end (?), stopping at key points along the way. An onscreen counter helps the audience keep track.

The movie hinges on the casting — especially Summer — and the producers lucked out by landing the enchanting Zooey Deschanel. Beautiful without being intimidating, she nevertheless is stunning enough to convince as someone who could instantly captivate Tom. Deschanel has an approachability that makes Summer seem real. Joseph Gordon-Levitt aspires to more of an everyman as Tom; he’s the kind of guy who knows he’s out of his league with Summer and cannot believe his luck. (Speaking of which, the sudden dance interlude set to “You Make My Dreams” is like something out of a Bollywood musical – and if that doesn’t bring back Hall & Oats, nothing will!)

This is not to suggest the film is flawless. Tom’s annoying 12-year-old sister, Rachel, whom he consults for romantic (and life) advice is a ridiculous crutch. Her old-soul philosophizing belongs on some inane sitcom, where a laugh track can punctuate her precociousness. And Tom has buddies direct from central casting: the obnoxious, oblivious boob who thinks he’s a ladies’ man, and the henpecked big-talker with no game.

But the shining jewel of the movie is blue-eyed Deschanel, and her brilliance shines through Summer. Some might interpret the role as underwritten because we never really understand why she seems like a commitment-phobic rom-com guy. We never get a Hollywood explanation for her sudden suggestion that she and Tom break up (That’s not a spoiler; it’s the jumping-off point of the movie). Nor do we understand her other romantic moves. Summer says she just woke up with a feeling one day. She’s simply inscrutable. For better or worse, to men, that’s what women are like.

Shakespeare asked, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” How about 500 of ‘em?

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May 07, 2010
The dance scene of "You Make My Dreams Come True" was hilarious, especially when juxtaposed to the next disappointing day of their "relationship." Great review! I am working on one myself. I should have it posted within a few days if you want to read it. :)
October 07, 2009
This is a really nice review. Thanks.
October 07, 2009
Thanks, I'm really glad you enjoyed it.
October 07, 2009
This is such a great review and I love that last line!  I like how you describe this movie as like a chick flick for guys.  Definitely not like the movies on my chick flicks list.  I actually found the role of Rachel to be kind of cute, though unrealistic.  Thanks for sharing! :)
October 07, 2009
Thank you, I really appreciate the kind words and encouragement.
More (500) Days of Summer reviews
review by . May 02, 2011
I think that it is perfectly safe to say that (500) Days of Summer is probably the best romantic comedy of the last 10 years. However, most things in that genre are absolute garbage, so that's not really a fair title to give it. However, this is a truly splendid film, girded by strong performances and believable chemistry from its two main stars as well as a strong supporting cast. I also think that Summer Finn is a vicious cruel manipulative harpy, but I'll explain why later. The movie …
review by . May 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
500 Days of Summer (...Bitch)
      "Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental...Especially you, Jenny Beckman...Bitch."      From the introduction of this film, I knew the movie was not going to be your average romantic comedy. In fact, I would classify it as an "anti-romance." It's the worst situation anyone in love could be in. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Tom Hansen, is in love with Zooey Deschanel, who plays Summer Finn. The problem? …
review by . August 24, 2009
Much like the complicated relationship on display in this film, I had things that I loved and things that I could do without.  I liked the movie...I thought it was pretty good.  It might be that it didn't live up to the hype that I had been subjected to hearing.  Anyway, let's dive in      "You should know up front, this is not a love story"      The trailer tells it like it is.  You will not see a typical "boy meets girl" …
review by . September 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
4 stars: Love is a tough thing when you don't know why it ends
  No one really quite knows the exact reasons why there relationship ends or how it ended in the first place or why it came to end the way it did. All we know is that the relationship is over and there is nothing we can do about it they have moved on so should we however, that is sometimes easier said that done. Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)   knows this all too well as h e has just broken up with his loveless, girlfriend Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). He is wreck after there …
review by . August 15, 2011
Don't be fooled by the opening narration. (500) Days of Summer is very much a love story. Just not the kind we're used to seeing.      Come to think of it, the title's also a little misleading. This is really the story of Tom Hanson, and the 500 days he spends being in love with Summer. But while we get to know Tom very well, thanks in large part to a charming and nuanced portrayal by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, by the end of the movie Summer remains something of an enigma, …
review by . October 11, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
"This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know up front, this is not a love story."       Upon first hearing about (500) Days of Summer, your first instinct is probably that it is a love story.  It has the basic setup from the get go.  Boy meets girl and girl meets boy.  The difference is that the boy falls for the girl... but the girl does not.  In short, what we're really viewing is actually one man's misinterpretation of the relationship …
review by . May 18, 2010
Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a twenty-something greeting card writer, recalls the 500 days in which he loved a girl named Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Though she made it clear she was a free spirit and didn't want a boyfriend, the two coworkers became involved and then parted, reunited briefly to be parted again.       This much talked-about romantic dramedy is fairly lightweight stuff, aimed at the teen and early-twenties set. To my older eyes, it seemed a bit of fluff, a forgettable …
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Cute movie. BUT I felt like it was trying too hard. Trying to be smart and hip, which annoyed me more than it charmed me.
Quick Tip by . January 25, 2010
meh.. entertaining enough to hold my attention. not great, not bad. also not very emotionally evocative, which was a bummer.
review by . December 30, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER is a refreshing bit of fluff about the dance of contemporary courting - with a twist. Writers Scott Neustader and Michael H. Weber demonstrate a keen understanding of the bumpy road of romance and have been able to make a film that balances humor and tenderness very well. Director Marc Webb encourages his two fine lead actors to give performances that could just be career boosts for both.    Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a completely different role …
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(500) Days of Summer is a 2009 United States romantic comedy film. It is directed by Marc Webb, produced by Mark Waters, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. This is Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel's second movie together (following Manic). Principal photography began in April 2008 in Los Angeles, California. The film opened in US limited release on July 17th, 2009, and will be released in Australia on September 17th, 2009.

Tom is in a meeting when his boss (played by Clarke Gregg) introduces the board room to Summer, the new assistant/secretary. Tom works in a greeting card company similar to Hallmark as a copy writer. He comes up with all the slogans for their cards. He is immediately taken by Summer’s beauty.

Tom talks to his friends about how much he likes Summer. While at first he plays things cool, he is convinced she is the one after an exchange in the elevator over their mutual love of the Smiths. He spends two weeks pining over her and executing awkward attempts to initiate conversation but can’t hit a chord. An opportunity arises when Tom’s best friend tells him that the entire office is going to a karaoke bar the following evening.

Tom arrives at the bar as his best friend is singing. He sees Summer and she seems happy to see him. Summer goes up and sings while Tom drinks with his friend and watches Summer. Summer then gets Tom a little drunk and has him sing karaoke. Afterwards, the three sit together and talk about ...
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Director: Marc Webb
Genre: Drama
Release Date: July 17, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: December 22, 2009
Runtime: 1hr 35min
Studio: Fox Searchlight
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