Friday, 9 October 2009

Glorious, Glorious Summer

(500) Days of Summer is touted as a story about “boy meets girl, boy falls in love, girl doesn’t,” and that’s exactly what it is. As a result, it’s the unconventional romance of the year, delightfully quirky, charming, and amusing every beat of the way. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has only grown cuter since 10 Things I Hate About You, and is well cast as somewhat of a smitten dork, Tom, who believes in true love and can't resist his co-worker gorgeous, free-spirited Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Unfortunately, she doesn’t quite feel the same way about him.
The film offers some intriguing discussions about the nature of love and the idea of “the One,” exploring the notion of what happens when you fall in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. What is love? Does love exist? Can't a girl be free and independent and not want a boyfriend without being a lesbian?
Tom is a wannabe architect who writes greeting cards ("I guess I just figured, why make something disposable like a builing when you can make something that last forever, like a greeting card" [in sarcastic tone, just so you know]) who, in the middle of it all, wakes up to an ironic epiphany about love, language, gestures and the greeting card industry, which may make you think about how to express that sentiment you're next going to send via Hallmark:
“Why do people buy these [greeting cards]? Not to say how they feel. There’s paper and pens for that. People give these cards when they can’t say how they feel. Or they’re afraid to. And we provide the service that lets ’em get away with that! I think we do a bad thing here. People should be able to say how they feel, how they really feel, without some strangers putting words in their mouths. The truth. A card is a nice thought but it shouldn’t do the dirty work for you. You love someone, tell them yourself, in your own words. Maybe it’s not love at all. Maybe there’s no such thing as love.”
But the point of it all isn't to disprove love but rather to question it. It isn't that love doesn't exist, but that it is a very different emotion and experience for everyone, not necessarily reciprocol and, perhaps above all, incredibly uncertain.
Sure, it’s a lovely, light-hearted film but it packs a punch; “just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soul mate.” Tom's younger sister delivers this cracker of a line which is just one example of the sizzling, sassy and hilarious dialogue.

One of the most amazing things about this film is that it shows, tantalisingly, rather than tells:
“CLOSE ON her HAND, covering his. Notice the wedding ring. No words are spoken. Tom looks at her the way every woman wants to be looked at.” [Excerpt from screenplay]
And then it goes and undoes all your basic assumptions based on this.
The film is as sweet as it is funny and unflinching, with cartoon backgrounds, home-video quality, split screens, and kooky cinematography, reminiscent of 2007's indie hit Juno. Perhaps one of the film’s greatest qualities is that it doesn’t take itself seriously; it is narrated by what is described in the screenplay as “a distinguished voice,” and at times bursts into song and dance. To boot, it has a rocking soundtrack that not only sets the mood but just makes you want to get up and dance in the isles.
This is not a love story. It’s a story about love. And you will love it.


Arielle said...


Sharanya said...

I REALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLYYYYYY want to watch this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've wanted to, for SOOOOO long!