August 7, 2009

500 Days of Summer - 2009

Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel

"This is a boy meets girl story. It is not a love story." (500) Days of Summer is the latest indie comedy that will tug at your heartstrings. Gordon-Levitt plays Tom, an employee of a greeting card company who doesn't believe he'll ever be truly happy until he finds the woman of his dreams; Deschanel is the titular Summer, a girl who lost faith in true love after her parents' divorce when she was a young girl. I won't say much about where things go from here. However:
  • You will be laughing in the film's first couple minutes, before any actors appear onscreen.
  • The writers/director had to have been at least a little inspired by Amélie. Once you see both, it's obvious.
  • The film is not told entirely in chronological order.
  • Best scenes: Wii Tennis, karaoke, IKEA, criticism of modern art
  • Immediately before and after Tom and Summer have sex for the first time (and don't you dare tell me that's a spoiler) are worth the price of admission alone.
  • Something you don't ever see in movies: a couple watching porn together, and the girl suggesting they try something out.
  • A somewhat trite precocious child sage (Tom's younger sister)
  • Homages to French New Wave cinema, as well as Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal
  • Splitscreen dichotomy of expectations versus reality
  • The film's last line is a groaner.
For reasons that should be obvious, I don't recommend couples seeing this film together, especially if one or both parties are easily swayed emotionally by such things. Again, I'd say more, but you know...spoilers.

What ultimately makes (500) Days such a great film is its realism. Neustadter and Weber have definitely had their hearts massaged and subsequently ripped out by women, and they succeed masterfully at bringing the experience to the screen. Along with the director, they're geniuses, but terrible geniuses.

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