Saturday, May 15, 2010
(500) Days of Summer
(500) Days of Summer; romantic comedy, USA, 2009; D; Marc Webb, S: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Matthew Gry Gubler
Tom, a writer of greeting cards, is intrigued by the new employee Summer. She just recently moved in this town but does not seem to care that much for him. After the whole company goes to karaoke, the two of them start talking with each other. The next day, she kisses him at work. Slowly, in the next 500 days, Tom starts a relationship with her, but she warns him in advance that she does not want "anything serious". Their love relationship has its ups and downs, but in the end she breaks up with him. He turns angry and quits his job. After she marries someone else, he meets another girl - Autumn.
When a movie starts off with the following text: "Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental ... Especially you, Jenny Beckman ... Bitch", you know it isn't going to be your run-of-the-mill mainstream flick. One of the most acclaimed films of 2009, independent romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer" is a refreshingly written and directed piece of work, bursting with innovation and playful style, as well as good emotional moments. Truly, Godard would have loved it since it is full of inventive ideas: for example, in one scene, the depressed hero Tom is sitting in a cinema watching "Persona" and "Seventh Seal", except that he sees himself and his beloved Summer or sister Rachel starring in that black and white classics, reenacting scene for scene. In another example, the split screen provides two versions of Tom approaching Summer's apartment - the left screen showing "Expectations" while the right screen shows "Reality". After he sleeps with Summer for the first time, he goes out on the street, to a sunny day, all happy, leaning on to a mirror of a car, and spots - instead of his own image - the image of Harrison Ford!
If one looks at all those ideas throughout "500 Days", it becomes obvious that director Marc Webb and writer Scott Neustadter managed to create more inventive ideas in only one film than many others have achieved in their entire careers. Considering the sole, emotional story, it is very good, but somehow overstuffed and artificial, as if at certain points it leaned more towards style than substance, which could leave you feeling rather dizzy and exhausted towards the end. Still, even though the 'inner-directorial' ability to make a story feel like a real story was not completely tight, "500 Days" had many moments that ring true (especially the sequence where Tom and Summer escort their drunk friend McKenzie to a cab. But before the car leaves them, McKenzie says in drunk fashion: "He likes you, Summer!" After he leaves, she turns towards Tom and asks him: "Is it true? Do you really like me?", which causes an enchanting dialogue). It was nominated for 2 Golden Globes: best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.