Ploumis Reviews “500 Days of Summer”…“This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.” What happens to someone who believes love is the oxygen that keeps everyone alive, only to meet someone whose treasured quality is their ability to never feel attachment?500 Days of Summer (2009)
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Combine these opposite personalities with a stringent focus on the importance of perception, and you have one very refreshing dark comedy.
Our leading man Tom (Joseph Gordon – Levitt) “grew up believing that he’d never truly be happy until the day he met ‘The One.’ This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total misreading of the movie ‘The Graduate’.” Our leading lady Summer (Zoey Deschanel) “did not share this belief. Since the disintegration of her parent’s marriage she’d only love two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing.”
Ploumis Reviews “500 Days of Summer”
Now…can we just pause here for a moment and fawn over these great lines! I am so in love with this script – a story about truth – a relatable truth. Relationships are sought by everyone – but not everyone fits into traditional gender roles. This film is for the little boys who grew up dreaming of their weddings. This film is for the little girls who dreamed of never being tied down – who above all were looking for themselves.
Violation of standard gender roles is done well in this film
The combination of “opposites attract” and the violation of standard gender roles is done so well in this film, you don’t even realize how revolutionary it is. You just find yourself nodding “yes” over and over again as the story unveils. Tom goes through a terrible and rough time in this relationship. The happy times were mostly one-sided . . . and we (the audience) know that. As easy as it is for us to pick up on his over-eagerness and Summer’s lukewarm excitement, we STILL root for Tom and get mad at Summer. Why? Because we do the same thing in our own relationships. When all the facts are in front of us, we usually choose to see only what we want.
True love…expectations versus reality
We then go on to manifest feelings from these one sided moments – often at our own peril. There is a fantastic scene in the movie where Tom goes to a party Summer is having. When Summer opens the door to let him in it divides into a split screen. One side is titled EXPECTATIONS and the other REALITY. We simultaneously see what really happened at the party vs. what Tom wished would happen. For a scene dripping with elements of fantasy it’s one of the most relatible in the film.
The artsy fun Marc Webb incorporates into the film further drives the audience to feel the universal truth of the movie in their hearts while being distracted by the whimsy. This reminds me of a quote from my favorite movie: “Artists use lies to tell the truth” – Eve, V for Vendetta. It’s true. I really don’t want to say more about this film – I may have already said too much. If you are interested in romantic comedies, great scripts, engaging visual elements, and sarcastic characters who share some very sweet moments – then see this movie.
It’s an experience – and I won’t derive you of if by saying anymore.