Saturday, 26 March 2011

(500) Days of Summer

Year: 2009
Director: Marc Webb
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Chloe Grace Moretz, Geoffey Arend, Michael Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg
Running Time: 95 minutes
Genre: Drama, romance, comedy

Summary: Los Angeles, 2006: Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt) is an aspiring architect who works designing greetings cards. One day he meets his boss' new assistant, Summer Finn (Deschanel), and instantly falls for her. Tom, who is a firm believer in true love, believes that he has found the one girl for him, however Summer does not believe in love and is not interested in commitment, seeing Tom as a good friend and nothing more. The two embark on a turbulent relationship through the pleasures and heartbreak of modern relationships.

Opinions: This film is told in a non-linear style, flashing back and forth in time through the five hundred days of Tom and Summer's relationship. It contrasts the fun, joy and exuberance of the early days of the relationship with the misery and heartbreak of the end of the affair. It uses a voice-over narration from actor Richard McGonagle, as well as a variety of visual tricks (including switches from colour to black-and-white, animation, title cards, captions, split screen and an elaborate song and dance number) to get inside the mind of Tom Hansen, through whose eyes the story is told. The non-linear style of the film shows how initially minor glitches in the early days of a romance frequently blossom into major problems, and how what seem at first to be cute quirks in the object of desire can soon turn into big annoyances as the passion sours. The film also shows how the cracks in a relationship can start just as much from small, initially unnoticed things as much as from major blowups. However one defect of the film's fragmented narrative means that the frequent sudden shifts in tone between comedy and drama can be quite jarring.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel both make likeable and engaging leads and are well supported by Chloe Grace Moretz as Tom's wise beyond her years kid sister, and Geoffrey Arend and Matthew Gray Gubler as his supportive friends.
This is a fun, bittersweet, hip, quirky and stylish look at modern relationships and makes for a refreshing antidote to most other romantic films, although it's probably best if you don't put it on for date night. Particularly not if you're the mysterious Jenny Beckman, who is referred to as a "bitch" in the film's opening title cards.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer

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