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Movie Reviews

(500) Days Of Summer



Reviewer: Luke Walkley

Released: 7th August 2009

Director: Marc Webb

Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Certificate: 12

‘This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story’

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the down on his luck, wannabe Architect, whose life seems to be going nowhere until one day he is introduced to Summer (Zooey Deschanel) An unconventional young lady who doesn’t believe in love and is resigned to the thought that eventually life just gets in the way. However, Tom instantly falls for her and finds it hard to try and convince her that true love exists.

The story may sound clichéd and that was how it seemed to me before I took the time to watch this film. Director Marc Webb took this film on as his first major film project after mainly directing music videos and clearly made his mark after being chosen to lead Marvels ‘The Amazing Spiderman’.

As Tom reminisces, the film follows the days that Tom and Summer spent together, creatively flicking back and forth from the start middle and end of the 500 days. It is the clever way in which the writers and director have entwined the story around itself that allows the viewers to experience the full effect of their relationship, the heartfelt moments to the hair-tearing agony, which other romances often fail in portraying. It is this connection between these two that makes it so easy to be drawn into their lives and feel each emotion as they themselves feel it. Seeing Tom turn to his younger sister (Chloe

Moretz) for advice and in turn, Summer’s emotional defences fall down during a theatre trip gives a unique perspective to the traditional love story.

(500)Days of Summer does not hide its true genre of romance behind a wall of comedy, while considered a rom-com, the narrator offers the comic reprieve whilst the jokes are tasteful and break up the sensitivity of what could be an overly emotional film. The light-hearted approach is perfect in its delivery, never heavy-handed and in keeping with the tone.

The film benefits from a fantastic soundtrack, brilliantly used within the film itself each and every song used plays some part in describing Tom and Summers relationship. Everything from Wolfmother to The Smiths is used with startling effect. Even an intentionally ridiculous dance scene in the middle of the street doesn’t ruin the films flow.

A lot of credit is down to the acting talents of the leads, as well as their supporting cast. There is real, believable chemistry between Levitt and Deschanel and they make one  of the most seamless on screen couples to date. They are complimented by Tom’s workmate and friend McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend, Devil) who inadvertently reveals to Summer, Tom’s feelings for her. As mentioned previously Chloe Moretz plays little sister Rachel, who is the unexpectedly mature voice in Tom’s ear. It is also the casting of Deschanel which allows this film to be more acceptable, she is by no means unattractive, but she looks and dresses like an everyday girl that you could meet on the street, the fact that the creators did not choose a stereotypically stunning lead actress shows tremendous belief in the strength of the development of the character and how you cannot help but want them to be happy together.

(500)Days of Summer is meant to be inspiring, while it may not appear to be at first glance, delving deeper into its plot it becomes clear that it truly wants people to sit up, pay attention and believe that love happens even if it’s not in the way you would expect it… Sure I may sound like I’m over indulging in trying to explain what feelings this film provokes, but I would recommend it to anyone who is or isn’t a fan of romance stories, its unlike any other modern love story and will hopefully be remembered for its offbeat approach to its topic.

(500) Days of Summer has the power to make you laugh and make you cry, but in the most subtle of ways. A great soundtrack and fantastic acting give the film a truly engrossing experience which is rarely seen in films of its genre.  While there may have been only 500 days of summer, this film will last a long time in the memory of anyone who watches it.

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