500 Days of Summer

I’ve never been happier to watch the story of a doomed romance then the indie “anti” romantic-comedy 500 DAYS OF SUMMER.

Directed By Marc Webb
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel
Released by Fox Searchlight Pictures
95 min (2009)

A couple of years ago I went to go see Garden State in the theater.   My friend Luke worked at the theater at the time and couldn’t resist teasing me about my film selection that afternoon. “You’re just seeing this because it’s an indie movie about artists” he joked before returning to sell over priced popcorn.   Luke (whose personal taste in film includes every bad action movie ever made) in many ways was right.   Full disclosure here: I have a soft spot for the quirky indie.   While I get just as excited about the latest James Bond or Harry Potter release as the next person, the truth is I’ll take Juno or Little Miss Sunshine over a big blockbuster any day.

With all that said, when I saw the trailer for the new film 500 DAYS OF SUMMER I immediately knew I wanted to see it.   Yes, it has many of the clichés of both the indie and romantic comedy film: a hip alternative soundtrack, quirky artwork, zany friends and endless pop culture references, but this film is also something more.

First off this is a romance that from the outset you know doesn’t work out; the title refers to the length of the relationship between Tom and Summer (the tagline: “This is a story of boy meets girl. The boy falls in love. The girl doesn’t.”)

Even before I saw the film I liked how refreshing this concept was, that I wouldn’t have to endure watching a last minute dash to the airport scene.   I was prepared for things to get sad going into this movie; after all it’s a film without a last minute dash to the airport scene.   While certain moments definitely pulled the heartstrings, on the whole I was completely delighted.   I loved this film so much that I could gush forever about what I enjoyed about it, but I’ll try and distill it into a few points.

I loved the non-linear style of the script. It was a great way to again try and move beyond the standard format of the romantic comedy: boy meets girl, they fight, they flirt, they fall in love. The end.   I loved that while Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a bunch of guy buddies his best friend is actually his tween sister Rachel.   I love how at twelve Rachel is already much wiser then her older brother and I think that Chloe Moretz, who plays Rachel, has allot of potential as an actress.

But above everything else, I loved how adorable Tom and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) were both individually and together as a couple.   When Gordon-Levitt gave those endless gushing smiles to Deschanel during the film I felt like screaming at the screen are you insane Summer!! He’s amazing!!! But most of all I loved how Tom was the love sick one and Summer was the practical and slightly cynical one of the pair or as she explains to Tom during the break up scene when she compares their relationship to Sid and Nancy, “No Tom I’m Sid, you’re Nancy”.   Summer is a strong, independent woman who isn’t afraid to say and do what she feels and whose entire life does not revolve around the quest for “The one”.

I’m also currently completely obsessed with her wardrobe in the film, if anyone knows where I can get those cute little headbands she wears please email me (steph@forgetthebox.net).   Also unlike any other film I’ve reviewed for Forget the Box, 500 Days of Summer is still in the theaters so you know what my vote is for your Friday movie night.

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