(Guest) A Fairy Tale Stuck in the Real World (”500 Days of Summer” Movie Review)
Is love just a fantasy? Considered the anti-romantic film at Sundance earlier this year, 500 Days of Summer is a fresh perspective of “boy meets girl” in the modern world.
A storybook-like narrator warns the audience what they are in for. This is not a love story, but simply a story about love.
500 Days of Summer chronicles the rise and fall relationship between Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). Tom is an aspiring architect, but has settled for working at a greeting card company. He is a hopeless romantic, whose favorite film is The Graduate and believes that true happiness will never come until the day he meets that special girl. Introduce Summer, his boss’ new assistant. Summer is the complete opposite of Tom. She believes that love is just a trick and that relationships take away any fun that life has to offer.
Of course it does seem a bit corny and contrived, but that’s the beauty of this entire film. It’s a tender slice of life that combines with romantic comedy clichés and twists into a refreshing relationship study that does what most mainstream films are afraid to do: be honest.
Its greatest strength is that it plays as a fairy tale stuck in the real world. It asks life’s big questions, and faces the truth in a manner that is lighthearted, but at the same time, brutally honest. It doesn’t have an overly pessimistic viewpoint on love, but rather a realistic take.
Combine this with a great soundtrack, the beautiful city of Los Angeles as a backdrop, good performances, and incredible direction, and the outcome is a near-perfect experience that almost anyone can relate to.
500 Days of Summer is not only one of the best films of the year, but the best romance comedy in recent memory. It is shockingly bittersweet, delightfully humorous, and best of all, truthful. Part Cameron Crowe and part Woody Allen, 500 Days of Summer is a true indie gem that teaches us that it is not about what we come to expect, but what we have to accept.
Don’t be startled if this follows in the same footsteps as Little Miss Sunshine or Juno becoming 2009’s “little movie that could.”
MY GRADE FOR “500 Days of Summer”: A-
This post was submitted by Andrew Asuelo.