That’s the first word I thought of when I saw (500) Days of Summer. The movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as unlikely lovers in this off beat and refreshing romantic comedy.
This is a boy meets girl story. It is not a love story.
(500) Days of Summer tells the story of Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt), a young greeting card artist and wanna-be architect who longs to meet the perfect girl, fall in love and get married. See what I mean about refreshing? Enter Summer… Summer Finn, that is. Zooey Deschanel’s Summer is the “girl next door” that all the guys seem to fall for. She’s cute and funny and quirky and if she wasn’t so dang much fun, she would be the kind of girl who all the other girls hate. So naturally Tom falls for Summer. But as the narrator says (did I mention there is a narrator?) , this is not a love story.
The thing that makes Summer a very different Chick Flick character is she doesn’t believe in love. Gasp! She just wants to date, have fun with no commitments. (I think I heard applause from the men in the audience). (500) Days of Summer follows the couple as things go from idyllic to horrific in a series of non-linear vignettes.
One of the other refreshing things about 500 Days of Summer, is that it is musical. No, its not a musical, but the way music is used in the movie it helps to carry the story along. For instance, Tom starts to fall for Summer when he learns that they share a love of The Smiths. He is listening to “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want“. Or when he walks to work, feeling on top of the world, the morning after (well, you know) and bursts into dance to Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True”. Regina Spektor’s “Us” runs throughout the movie as we watch poor Tom go through the highs and lows of (you guessed it) 500 days of Summer. You really should check out the soundtrack.
This type of film making certainly is not main stream, but again the word refreshing comes to mind. Take this scene, where after breaking up with Tom, Summer invites him to a party. He is desperate to get her back and imagines how the evening will go. (Yeah right…like you haven’t rehearsed an important date in your mind 100 times before hand?) There is a split screen of the party.
Expectation vs. Reality
Best known for directing music videos, Marc Webb has made a funny and entertaining movie that doesn’t follow a traditional style of story telling. But you never get bored, which is more than I can say for some movies I’ve seen recently. And somehow I couldn’t help hoping that things might work out for Summer and Tom. Maybe it just the romantic in me. I love a happy ending. But it does have a happy ending, just not the one you expect.
Have you seen 500 Days of Summer? What did you think?