Monday, April 12, 2010

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER - Review

Directed by Marc Webb, Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Zooey Deschanel

The films narrator warns you right off the bat that "this is not a love story". And while this is certainly true in the traditional sense, I believe "(500) Days of Summer" is actually, very literally, about love.

Its protagonist, Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt), is hopelessly passionate. He is the kind of guy who probably falls in love with one thing or another every single day. He is in love with love itself, and is eager to share it with another. Enter Summer Finn (Deschanel). Everything about her screams unattainable, yet she seems to be pretty interested in Tom. Boy meets girl. Boy eventually loses girl. That is no spoiler because, after all, you have already been warned.

The story's structure is fragmented because that is how these things are remembered. A touch. A kiss. A fight. The time you made them laugh. The time you made them cry. I cannot recall a film capturing the confusion and frustration that follows a break up quite as well as this one, save for maybe All The Real Girls, which also starred Zooey Deschanel. There is a need to pin point the one big thing that went wrong when it is often many little things.

Zooey Deschanel, who exudes a sort of effortless confidence, is perfectly cast here. We never really get to know Summer, because she simply won’t allow it. Deschanel has become an expert at playing characters like this. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's part is less flashy, but his Tom is earnest, heartfelt and also perfectly played. It is too bad for him that Summer in seeking an equal and not an admirer.

So you can see why this is not a conventional love story. You can also see why this really is a love story. If you have ever been through a major break up, then this is also your story.


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