Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Gordon-Levitt’

h1

REVIEW: (500) Days of Summer (2009)

November 11, 2009

Despite what it may look like from the trailer and everything else surrounding it, (500) Days of Summer is not a love story, as the narrator of the film comes right out and announces at the beginning of the movie. Even those who typically can’t stand the genre of romantic comedies (such as myself) will likely find themselves pleasantly surprised (as I was) by this underrated semi-Indie project that seemed to slip by under the radars of the general population during its time in theaters. Overall, the film is a charming one that seems fantasy-like at times, but still holds onto its unique qualities and unpredictability. While it may seem like cliches do still appear too often, most of the time- the film intentionally takes them and turns them around to present them in a comedic and almost parodic way. Quite the opposite of the unoriginal, cliche-ridden romantic comedies (if I dare bring up the comparison) that pollute the cinema world today, this summer project is fresh, original, and honest.

The film centers around the relationship of Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an artistic and slightly dorky architect-wannabe who instead got stuck designing greeting cards for a living, and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), the new assistant to Hansen’s boss. It employs a nonlinear narrative technique in the sense that each scene is preceded by a title card indicating which of the 500 days in the pair’s “relationship” the scene depicts. However, the days are scattered throughout the movie and one scene could be followed by another that takes place 200 days before it chronologically (ex. the movie begins with a clip of the 500th day). So instead of following the traditional sequence of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and boy wins girl back, 500 Days of Summer introduces the troubles of the relationship almost from the very beginning and builds off of the entrance all the way to the resolution, all the while showing the earlier days that reveal the relationship’s development in between. It quickly becomes clear that the purpose is not to present an understandable, linear timeline that shows where the relationship winds up from beginning to end, but rather to show the unfolding of the events that shaped the relationship and how those sequences influenced what the two experience as the 500 days of the story come to a close.

The audience is immediately thrust into the story, getting a glimpse of how the two meet and their laughably awkward first couple interactions at the same time as receiving bits and pieces of the conflicts they encounter later on in the relationship. Much of the first half of the film illustrates the way Hansen deals with both the start of the relationship and the start of their problems together, consulting his two juvenile and dorky best friends who are of no help to him. But perhaps the best moments of the entire film come from the interactions between Hansen and his preteen sister, who asserts herself with the confidence and authority of an adult, giving him intelligent and insightful advice as if she were the mother of a shy and confused junior high boy. And in a comical way, when compared to his two immature and unhelpful best friends, she becomes his go-to relationship expert with the seeming experience of Dr. Phil.

It may only last 95 minutes, but this comedy proves it’s exactly that– filled with laugh-out-loud moments all around including a Harrison Ford “cameo” of sorts and a hilariously spontaneous dance sequence that takes place right in the middle of town. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel exhibit near-perfect chemistry with realistical dialogue and, together, they create a quirky and odd couple out of the two characters that fits the attitude of the picture precisely. Combined with a great soundtrack, an impressive performance from Gordon-Levitt, and exceptional editing that maintains an appropriate pace to compliment the nonlinear timeline, 500 Days of Summer is certainly one of the best comedies of the summer and perhaps even of the year. Consider it a leader in the “Best Movies Virtually No One Saw” category and be sure to check out this underrated accomplishment whenever you get the chance.

three and a half stars