87%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)

500 Days of Summer remains a new season for the reinvention of the romantic comedy.

500 Days of summer remains a doppleganger upon itself, something that refuses to take itself too seriously but moderately keeps itself just serious enough.   The movie flows with the indie appeal of minimalism, yet crosses boundaries and feels more real than most more serious fare being released in the last ten years.  Despite a rather bumpy beginning and some flaws in the ending, the movie flows and hums thanks to a superb performance by the leads, a creative and inventive script, and a first time director who emphatically puts his stamp on the rom com genre.

500 days of Summer is a review of a relationship between two brief co-workers, Tom (Gordon-Levitt) and summer (Deschanel).  The movie follows their relationship out of chronological order to show the highs and lows they go through, both together and apart as they try to navigate love in a much more modern world.  Tom remains draped in romantic idealism, a hopeless romantic in a much more post modern time and Summer the cynic, only accepting things at face value and unable to make a connection to take any relationship deeper.  The theory of the manic pixie dream girl might as well be spun from this movie as the assortment of character traits given to Summer would make almost any man fall had over heels in love with her.   The movie takes several things, from a couples walk through IKEA to tom feeling he’s in a music video after his first sleep over with summer, with much aplomb.  Demanding in its insistence to get to the core of the emotional journey of its characters while convincing the audience that its trying to get to the physical changes between the both.

Like most indie movies, the cast is a combination of up and comers and unknowns, who add a grounded style of sensibility to tide over as the leads are allowed to elaborate on the events in their life. This is much needed as without that anchor and view point, the movie would have no common demoninator to come back to in order to explain where these characters should ideally be.  The problem with most romantic comedies is the insistence in creating quirky fun characters with one flaw that perfectly corrects the other persons weakness, allowing the characters to seem perfectly fit together, yet cause hilarity and hijinks.  The formula, like coca cola, is well known but extremely guarded. After all the human reaction is not that their manipulated which is the problem, but knowing how their manipulated.

Another interesting side point to the movie, and the point above is that after the financial collapse and nine eleven, people don’t want the ideal couple any more.  They want real grounded people, like Harry and Sally, in when Harry met Sally.  People want to know that life can be normal and what their going through has a happy ending. They want to see the same mistakes they make on screen and how to correct them. People no longer want the fantasy, they want the answers to reality.



This last point is why 500 Days of summer remains great, and in some aspects, will remain timeless.  The movies emotional core traces the characters inability to be the one for each other. That issue will plague relationships for the rest of time, leaving the issue perpetually unresolved.  The ability for the problem to never truly be solved will always leave an audience, regardless of when in the future to still seek out the same answers.  The questions just haven’t been posed in such a reserved and emotionally raw way.   The screenwriters tap from experience of real love lost,  something else the audience can relate too.

In the end 500 Days of Summer is a story of Tom and Summer, and which one we feel we are when we watch the movie. The true answer is at one point or another, everyone has been both, and the truth in that is why we feel so strongly in each scene, we know what its like to rip someone’s heart out, and we know what it’s like to be that person longing for that second chance, knowing this person is the perfect person for me.  As the tag line states, this story does not have a happy ending.  That may be true, but the ability for 500 Days of Summer to show us how to get up after we reach that point is more than most movies have shown us in the past.  Its visual style and confident script lead us on unexpected yet very familiar journeys, one you should take again the next time you get down on relationships.  After all it’s all about getting back up.


Starring: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Zooey Deschanel.

Release Date (2009 Fox Focus)

Written by Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

Directed by Marc Webb

About The Author

Creator / Managing Editor

David Postma is the creator, co-managing editor, and writer for Filmtakeout. After receiving an Associates Degree in Journalism from Grand Rapids Community College in 2006, he attended Columbia in Chicago where he graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors in Film. Dave interned at Lionsgate Studios in 2008 where he worked in both the Television department and the New Media department. Dave also runs a production company, Beyond the Horizon, which helped to produce "Weed Road", a hit reality show on the Discovery channel. He currently assists with Global Benefits LLC in financing for commercial, real estate, and entertainment ventures; and he recently became Chief Operating Officer at M6 International where he assists both in financing structures for the company and helping assist overseeing productions of entertainment and commercial projects across the company stratosphere. Dave also sits on the board of directors for Downbeat Collective, a non profit dedicated to creating artistic endeavors to help provide funding to non profit organizations of various need.