Directed by: Marc Webb
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend
New Jersey-born Tom Hansen has always held a fervent belief in the concept of true love, moreover the idea that everyone should and will at one point find “the one.” Mindlessly trudging from day to day while working behind a desk at a greeting card company, the prospect of Tom finding someone that fit that profile was slim to none. That is, until the lovely Summer Finn very unexpectedly enters his life one day as his boss’s new assistant. Almost immediately, Tom knows that this girl is the one, but what he doesn’t know is that Summer holds in high regard a set of beliefs that are polar opposites of those he stands by. Despite this, the two slowly begin realize they have a good amount in common, and before you know it, inexplicably become more than just friends. But, much to Tom’s dismay, their already questionable relationship hits the rocks just a short while down the road, thus forcing him to confide in his friends and sister in order to help him make the right decision about either moving on with his life or continuing to pursue the girl he always thought he knew was right for him.
After finally getting the chance to see this much-anticipated film of mine, I can safely conclude that it’s quite easily the best of the year thus far. It succeeds where a plethora of other films of its type clearly haven’t, mostly due to how unconventionally and borderline brutally honest it is from start to finish, even though the film’s intentions are made abundantly clear no more than several minutes in thanks to some clever albeit sometimes inconsistent narration. It’s with this characteristic that (500) Days of Summer poses some interesting and refreshingly original thoughts on love and the different theories certain individuals have on the matter, further setting it apart from other run-of-the-mill romcoms by staying unpredictable throughout thanks to this and its unique back-and-forth narrative structure.
Additionally, director Marc Webb and fledgling screenwriters Neustadter and Weber manage to hit just about every mark that counts in making this film as thoroughly enjoyable as it is. Coupled with some ingenious editing, the amount of quirks presented within the script and Webb’s simply terrific direction give (500) Days of Summer yet another emotional boost whenever the need to do so presents itself. I guess some may find it absurd to witness a choreographed dance sequence thrown in amongst some generally… normal happenings, but the scene in question is executed as perfectly as can be and effectively helps illustrate just a small part of the many ups and downs Gordon-Levitt’s Tom experiences during his relationship with Summer.
(500) Days of Summer also sports some seriously impressive efforts provided by way of each and every cast member. For starters, Gordon-Levitt has never really ceased to impress me since his breakthrough roles in the noir-esque Brick and the all too disturbing Mysterious Skin. Putting his most recent G.I. Joe debacle aside, his performance here is spot-on as the overly hopeful yet somewhat naive and underachieving Tom Hansen, deftly adapting to the needs of the script whenever necessary and further proving to me he’s slowly becoming one of the best in the business. His counterpart Deschanel, who’s quite frankly been hit-or-miss in my book, is also quite outstanding in her portrayal of Summer, effectively illustrating all of the character’s weak suits in toying with Tom’s emotions as frequently as can be. Furthermore, the chemistry exhibited between the two is uncanny, and I truly look forward to seeing more of the same from them in the future.
Throw in an excellent supporting cast that’s capable of delivering the appropriate amount of comic relief when needed, and you have yourself one of the most refreshingly original and flat-out best cinematic experiences of year, hands down. With an unconventionally honest, emotionally resonant script, some terrific direction, and a knockout pair of endlessly charming leads, (500) Days of Summer is very much a force to be reckoned with as part of the ever-expanding romantic comedy genre. This being said, I implore you to see this film for yourself, especially if you’re looking for something much more quieter than an explosion-riddled mess based on a line of toys. Excellent, excellent film.