500 DAYS OF SUMMER
Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) wishes he were an architect, but in reality, he writes slogans for greeting cards. When he meets his boss's lovely new secretary from Michigan Summer (Zooey Deschanel), he is instantly smitten and dreams of their future together. As the days pass, a relationship begins, but while Tom is serious, Summer has different ideas.
Review by Louise Keller:
Charm effuses from this quirky love story in which fate, coincidence, dreams, expectations and reality are chaotically intertwined. Boy meets girl, but it's not a love story, we are told. To be accurate, it's a story that questions the notion of romantic love, when you meet someone under destiny's gaze and the stars are aligned. Such is the story of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's romantic, day-dreaming Tom, when Zooey Deschanel's Summer, the bubbly, self-acclaimed love-cynic, walks into his life and captures his heart. Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have written a sensitive script highlighting love's topsy-turvy impact by describing the red-green, stop-start nature of Tom and Summer's tumultuous relationship as timeframes are wildly shuffled. The result is an endearing, involving and funny mosaic that champions love.
The story begins on a high (briefly) on Day 488 when Tom knows Summer is "The One", but like our spirits that quickly dip, time reverts to Day 290, when he and Summer are breaking up over pancakes. Yes, there are two kinds of people in the world - men and women and as far as Tom is concerned, he and Summer make perfect sense together. She makes him feel anything is possible, but she says 'love is a fantasy.'
Like the advent of their relationship, director Marc Webb never rushes the inevitable and the lurches in time (like that on Day 154 when Tom knows he is in love with her to Day 31 for that first kiss by the photocopier) keeps us well and truly off balance. The scene at the Ikea store, as they test out different furniture departments (kitchen, lounge, bedroom) is playful in such a charming way, like when the animated bluebird of happiness flits on Tom's shoulder the morning after the night before, when he has every reason to smile. We are prised from that moment of ecstasy and taken to the bleakness of Day 303, when things are as glum as glum can be.
Our journey is an emotional roller-coaster, never better illustrated than through a split screen when rose-coloured expectations and harsh reality are shown side by side. Former child-star Gordon-Levitt is terrific, allowing his vulnerability to be laid out like a crumpled suit, while Deschanel counters nicely as the wide-eyed, effervescent girl who keeps a distancing wall around her. It's a nice twist on the conventional girl meets boy tale with enough surprises and chuckles - in story and structure - to make for a fresh, enticing and uplifting journey.
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500 DAYS OF SUMMER (M)
CAST: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Patrcia Belcher, Rachel Boston, Minka Kelly, Ian Reed Kesler
PRODUCER: Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe
DIRECTOR: Marc Webb
SCRIPT: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eric Steelberg
EDITOR: Alan Edward Bell
MUSIC: Mychael Danna, Rob Simonsen
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox/Searchlight
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 17, 2009