Friday, March 27, 2015

(500) Days of Summer (2009)

Director: Marc Webb
Writers:  Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Cast:       Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend

An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn't believe true love exists, and a young man who thinks the opposite and falls for her. 'Summer' in the title is the name of the girl and the film follows a non-linear narrative as it jumps from various days within 500-day span of Tom and Summer's relationship. Each of these jumps are indicated by a title card with day numbered & picture in it conveying the mood of the protagonist.

The entire film is based on Tom's perspective of the relationship and we don't get much insight into Summer in terms of her view of their relationship. The tone of the film is set with the following disclaimer:

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental. 

Especially you Jenny Beckman. 


It is essentially about a guy who is finding it very hard to get over the girl who he thinks is the one, his only and true soul-mate. The relation starts off with the disclaimer from Summer that she in not looking for anything serious as she doesn't believe in the concept of love. Their first night spend together is followed up with an elated Tom breaking out into a dance routine as he go to the office. There is a sense of perfection to how Summer is portrayed and the same can be said about all other characters who are part of Tom's life, especially his much younger sister (Chloe Grace Moretz) who serves as a relationship adviser for him. This could be used as a point to criticize the film for its shallowness but it is a deliberate choice and it does not claim to be anything more than what it essentially is. Yeah, it is style over substance, but is  a very good watch belonging to a genre that is very hard to get right and one that you can enjoy a great number of times. The obvious comparison is to be made with 'Annie Hall' and 'High Fidelity' and for me it falls somewhere in between those two films in terms of greatness. High Fidelity is of course a more mature look with a much more cynical protagonist than in Days of Summer but latter is much more enjoyable to watch. 

This was my second viewing of the film and it was as much of a joy to watch as it was the first time round even though its shallowness is much more apparent. Alas, the entire point of the film is its protagonist making too much of the situation borne out of him choosing to see only one side of their relationship. Film ends with Tom meeting another woman, Autumn, through a chance encounter and you question whether the coming of age element in the film was more for Summer than him. The director, Marc Webb, who made a promising debut with this film was signed up for the shitty Spider Man franchise which was really a shame. 

Rating: 4.5/5