Now Playing: (500) Days of Summer
Topic: Movie Reviews
(500) Days of Summer is an irresistible and sweet movie directed by former music video director Marc Webb. It is common knowledge now that this anti-romantic comedy is actually based on a real woman. (She was the girlfriend the writer Scott Neustadter.) The movie starts with an intro that reads: “Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you, Jenny Beckman... Bitch,” which puts a small damper on one’s enjoyment of the movie. It reminds me of how women are insulted when they turn down a man’s advances. Instead of accepting the refusal quietly, they call her “skank” or a “whore.” Some even worse insults include shouting that her vagina smells. It’s a false bravado, which everyone recognizes yet the stares and the tsk tsking are aimed at the woman as though she deserved the haranguing. Although the viewer already goes into (500) knowing it is about the unraveling of a relationship, which is the fault of both parties, we are immediately biased against the woman.
With that said, I did enjoy (500) Days of Summer much more than I should have since it does have a subtle disgust of women and our secret, mysterious ways that men always complain about. But it is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal of Tom, a charming and romantic emo twenty-something, which draws you into the movie and Tom’s pov. With the oversized projection of Gordon-Levitt’s face on the screen, you can’t help to fall into his inviting smile and playful eyes—he’s a nice guy who’s not a doormat. As you fall deeper in love with Tom, you wonder why the object of his affection ends up dumping him.
The casting is what really makes this movie. A too comedic of an actor or a too brooding of an actor would have alienated us from Tom’s pain and need for closure. Zooey Deschanel’s kooky prettiness lends an ethereal quality that fits perfectly Tom’s rhapsodizing and near worship of Summer. A more traditional beauty would have made Tom’s deep feelings for Summer seem shallow. The audience can understand somebody being head over heels in love with a curvy woman with come hither eyes like Eva Mendes, but such a fascination of a woman with such quirkiness allows the audience to accept that Tom loved her for more than what was on the outside.
(500) Days did have some faults. It was only 100 minutes long, but did seem to drag in some places. It lacks somewhat broad appeal for it’s cultural references are steeped somewhere between 1986 and 1991. Although this movie wasn’t written for women in mind, it was a little disappointing that Summer was such a 1-dimensional character.
Out of 5 stars, I give this movie 3 solid stars. (Also an extra half star for the cool soundtrack.)