Title: (500) Days of Summer
Release Date: 2nd September, 2009
Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel
Plot: Heartbroken Tom Hansen (Levitt) reflects back on the last year and a half spent together with the love of his life, Summer Finn (Deschanel), a girl who refuses to believe that love exists.
Review: Having watched Levitt and Deschanel team up together for the powerful indie flick, Manic, a few years ago, I was eager to see them reunited in a film that critics haven't been able to stop praising since it hit the Sundance Film Festival at the beginning of the year. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed.
Perhaps the best thing about (500) Days of Summer is that it never promises to be bigger than it is. This is a simple tale about a boy who falls in love with a girl, and the complications that arise from that relationship. Hollywood has its legendary love stories - This is not one of them.
Over the course of 500 days, we explore the friendly meet-and-greet between Tom and Summer, the flirtations, the first kiss, and so on and so forth. But, as the viewer is warned from the very beginning, this is not a love story.
It's hard to describe what gives (500) Days of Summer that edge. What makes it different to other films that expore relationships? It's not filled to the brim with modern day wit; It doesn't contain a handful of classically over-the-top 'uh oh' comedy scenarios; It doesn't give you a toothache from unrealistic sweetness. Instead, what makes (500) Days of Summer different is its realism.
It realistically portrays a one-sided love affair and never overplays those touching moments (usually prolonged in Hollywood films for sentimental value). Tom and Summer aren't perfect characters, and that's what makes them so endearing.
Over the summer, critics have shown that they can't get enough of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Since his turn as Tommy in 3rd Rock from the Sun, the 28-year-old has shyed away from the media, choosing to work on his craft rather than stardom, in indie flicks such as Stop-Loss, Brick, and Mysterious Skin. With the surprising success of Days of Summer filmgoers and critics alike are amazed at how much talent Gordon-Levitt is showing since his days as a child actor. And I'll join them on that.
As Tom, Gordon-Levitt shows that he is not a former child star - He's a natural talent. He's clearly grown into a man who cares about his work, looking to film as pieces of art (rather than money, like a lot of young film stars these days). Having caught up on the other indie films Gordon-Levitt has been dabbling in in between 3rd Rock and Days of Summer, I was reminded of a young Pacino, Hoffman, or DeNiro - an actor who has strived to prove himself as an actor, not a celebrity.
It is Gordon-Levitt's natural charm that makes Days of Summer's Tom so appealing and, though the character isn't the most complex, it gives audiences a taster of more great things to come from the young actor. Tom's clear giddiness when he first meets Summer, and the horrible pain he goes through as things begin to take a downward turn are the kind of emotions so brilliantly portrayed that we can't help wanting to celebrate with him at first and then take him in our arms and tell him it's all going to be okay.
Zooey Deschanel's slight quirkiness and old-star elegance brings Summmer the depth she might have otherwise lacked and, together, the couple's chemistry combines to make a wonderful onscreen pairing.
(500) Days of Summer isn't a huge film. It won't overwhelm you and blow your mind with special effects. But it will make you laugh, cry, and think about those you hold close to you.
While it was The Time Traveler's Wife that was predicted to be the big hit romance film of the year, it is in fact this small-budget picture that has garnered a better response. And that's because (500) Days of Summer is everything The Time Traveler's Wife promised to be and wasn't.
(500) Days of Summer covers every aspect of a relationship from start to finish in its own understated, simple and sweet way. Nothing is missing.
I'd recommend just about everyone to go and see this. This isn't a chick flick. It isn't a love story. So guys, you make sure you go see it too. It'll be worth it. I promise.
Favourite Moment: The dance sequence after Tom and Summer's first night together.
Friday, 2 October 2009
Title: (500) Days of Summer