500 Days of Summer
Yes, I am cheating again. Soon people will wonder why we even have the Devil’s Advocate stipulations for reviewing movies if we’re not going to follow them. Well, I reviewed multiple films this week so I’m giving myself a pass.
500 Days of Summer is a cautionary tale. The moral of the story? Don’t date cool, interesting people. They always wind up way too cool and interesting to stay with you. Actually, if anything, the film warns against building your life around a relationship, versus simply building your life. And it turns out that this is a powerful and effective message.
Now the film isn’t all preachy with warning signs flying at you non-stop. It’s a very cleverly written picture, with moments that I certainly won’t soon forget. The movie is presented out of chronological order, like Memento or Pulp Fiction, in order to show the contrasting and contradictory aspects of the relationship. It reminds its viewers to remember events the way they occurred, regardless of emotional attachment.
The humor is subtle, but spot on. Comically it doesn’t miss a beat, but know that it is not a rollicking laugh fest. It is a comedy, but it has somber moments in which we see the evolution and decline of an already capricious relationship. This isn’t new in the realm of the romantic comedy, but it is seldom done right in the average rom-com. 500 Days…balances the seriousness of the relationship and the comical situations that arise during courtship perfectly.
Regardless of any crushes I might have (that’s right, I’m looking at you Joseph Gordon-Levitt; I guess that makes it a man-crush though) the acting is superb. Levitt is put through the emotional ringer, and doesn’t miss a beat with his pathos driven performance. Zooey Deschanel is utterly charming and captivating, which is a facet of the character that was exploited early on in the film during a very amusing flashback scene. Very honest and real performances. Again, seldom seen in the rom-com arena.
500 Days of Summer brings the funny, without sacrificing story and characterization. Some scenes might look familiar as the film certainly borrows from it’s predecessors, such as Annie Hall (see my review of Annie Hall from our Woody Allen spotlight), but the context is original and it breaths new life into old concepts. Even if you’re tired of the boy meets girl, boy loses girl narrative, give 500 Days…a try. I give the film 4 out of 5 pitchforks.