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(500) Days of Summer

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

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The Highs and Lows of Summer

  • Aug 15, 2011
Rating:
+4
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, right down to Zooey Deschanel's last sly smile.

Since this movie is really about Tom and his experiences with (and without) Summer, that works just fine. Besides, (500) Days of Tom just doesn't sound as cool.

(500) Days of Summer gets a lot of credit, though, for making a real attempt at being honest, both with its audience and its characters. Tom and Summer are not cardboard cutouts fit into a standard romance storyline. They challenge the gender stereotypes we often see in movies, and they feel like real people, with their faults and their hangups and their silliness.

Only occasionally does the movie dip into the deep well of the trite situation (i.e. an overplayed scene in a record shop or the drunk buddy who says too much), but these are mostly forgivable in a movie with sudden, unexpected bursts of pure inspired fun, like a scene in which Tom feels on top of the world (guess why) and everything around him is made for his delight. If you haven't seen this already, I won't ruin it by trying to summarize it, but it makes the whole movie worth seeing. In fact, just go watch it now.

Ok, you're back? Good. Told you it was awesome.

(500) Days of Summer unfolds as a series of memories played out of sequence. Don't worry about getting lost, though, as each new memory is labeled so you know at least roughly where it falls, and the movie quickly finds its rhythm so the numbers are almost unnecessary. I love this aspect of the movie, as it feels like someone who is reliving the highs and lows of the relationship as they relate to how he felt about it, at the time and now. There's a subtlety about how the subjectivity of memory is conveyed here that I admire.

Overall, this is a sharply honest, delightfully quirky, and mostly original movie about love. It reminds me mostly of one of my favorites: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is even more striking and original in its approach. Both movies, though, share the perspective that love and romance are often messy and complicated, and working through the push and pull of attraction and independence is rarely as simple as we're often led to believe.

(500) Days of Summer may try to mislead you with its title and its opening lines. It may try to make you think it's not for romantics. But don't be fooled. By being honest, making me laugh unexpectedly, and especially for appreciating the differences that make us unique, it earned its way into my heart. It'll probably find its way into yours too.

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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 . 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 . October 06, 2009
 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 …
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 …
About the reviewer
Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #82
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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Wiki


(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.

Plot
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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Details

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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