Dee’s Bookcase: (500) Days of Summer

Posted: August 6, 2012 by Dee in Bookcase, Dee, General Media, Movies
Tags: , , , , , , ,

(500) Days of Summer is a relatively simple movie: boy meets girl, boy loves girl, girl’s more or less indifferent to boy, eventually girl breaks boy and boy wonders if love is real or if he’ll ever find it again. Okay yes it’s a little more complicated than boy meets girl, loses girl, gets girl. That’s why it works so well. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an architect who got stuck working at a Greeting Card company for years because it was an easy job and he was disillusioned about his dreams. Summer (Zoey Deschanel) is newly hired to work at the same company and immediately catches his interest. He is a romantic who believes in true love and fate, she’s a skeptic who thinks he’s living in a dream world. They start a relationship, although from the beginning Summer refuses to call it one, instead saying they’re good friends or hanging out or not putting any label at all. In time their relationship fizzles and the movie jumps around from the beginning to the end to the middle until we see a full picture of all 500 days that Tom knew Summer. It’s a beautiful story. Go rent/buy it right now.

First Impression

I knew walking out of the theater that this was going to be one of my favorite romantic comedy movies of all time. I was completely in love with this movie from the second it began until the end sequence. I went to see it because I’m a huge fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and I thought the trailer looked really good. I’d heard nothing but good things about it, including that there was a standing ovation when it was showed at a film festival. So I had high expectations, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I would’ve seen that movie again right then.

Current Impression

There are not enough good things I can say about this film. I’m not exactly what one would call a romance lover. Most romance movies I despise. I love how this movie manages to be uplifting and optimistic and yet realistic and depressing all at once. It shows the rise and fall of a relationship but you come out feeling like love is out there and it’s worth giving a chance. But only if you want it or feel it, because otherwise you end up with someone like Summer who is just never that certain about you. Or if you do end up with her, it’ll be an experience worth having in the end. I was excited to see this movie again. It never fails to make me smile. Still on my top list of best romantic comedies! I love that they didn’t end up together, that’s basically my favorite part of the whole thing. I know that sounds pessimistic, but it isn’t. Sometimes that’s how it happens and they still had a lasting impact on one another. There’s solace in that and it’s important to growing up. Just a great film overall with fantastic actors and very clever filming.

Favorite Character

Tom. Here’s the thing, it’s just fact that “traditionally” people think that women are the romantics and men only go along with it because they have to. It’s not often that we see a character swap like this where the man is the hopeless romantic, and she’s the cold and indifferent one. I’m sure everyone can find examples where that is true in their own lives, but in the media it’s rarely portrayed that way. Tom’s sweet and optimistic spirit is something that needs to be matured, and unfortunately that means being crushed into a thousand pieces first. I love how he obsesses over everything Summer says before he manages to actually hit on her, or how he constantly stresses about what they are and where they’re going.  Because this is a role reversal and it does take him to a new place by the end of the movie. This is Tom’s movie and you’re firmly on his team … although his sister is right, he can be a damn blind fool sometimes. Plus as mentioned before I have a huge crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt so that doesn’t hurt.

Favorite Quote

“It just wasn’t me you were right about.” – Summer

Favorite Scene

Honorary mention here to the famous dancing sequence, but that’s embedded in this article at the very bottom. It never fails to make me smile like an idiot. But I’d say my real favorite scene is the split screen between reality/expectations when he gets invited to her party. I think we’ve all had those situations where we have hopes for what might happen in an evening and we pictured it one way, and we get there and it’s completely the opposite. It’s heartbreaking to see how it plays out in the movie, and how much Tom deludes himself into thinking Summer’s the right one for him. JGL owns this scene, and it crushes out the hope in Tom and the hope we had for him that this was how he’d win Summer back over. Fantastically imagined scene.

What Doesn’t Work

Nothing. In my opinion this movie is basically a work of art. There is not a single thing I dislike about it. I love the actors, the plot, the dialogue, the setting, the message, and the quirkiness. Love love love.

Why I Own This

I think you can see from the rest of the review that I adore it. Watching it again was a delight. I bought it on DVD as soon as Amazon said it was for sale. I got my parents to watch it and I always recommend it to friends too. I love the nonlinear way the movie works, jumping around days and moods and giving us a full story. It makes sense because memory isn’t linear. You jump around a lot when you’re looking back at something. There is just something so honest about it. Honest in a harsh way but earnest too. It reminded me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which we’ll get to later, in the way that it recognizes that relationships can rip your soul out. Love can hurt you. And you can get to a bitter place about it, but there’s beauty in it too, and it’s something you will want long term to remember. While Eternal Sunshine is on the depressing side, the end of this one is a lot more uplifting. It’s closer to When Harry Met Sally. Which we’ll also get to. Wow I’m spoiling all over the place. 😉 Anyway this movie is romantic and sad and happy and inspirational and heartwrenching, and I highly recommend it to everyone.


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