For months I’ve been hearing and reading about the praises raining down on 500 Days of Summer, the romantic drama-comedy directed by first-time feature director Marc Webb and written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber. Naturally, this made me a sceptic. How good could a seemingly light-hearted romantic comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel be?
Well, I finally found out on DVD over the weekend. And I fell in love with it.
500 Days of Summer tells the story of Tom (Gordon-Levitt), a young man working for a greeting card company who meets Summer (Deschanel), the girl of his dreams. There’s just one problem: Summer doesn’t believe in love. Director Marc Webb describes it as more of a coming-of-age story than a romantic comedy, though I’d like to think of it as both.
It’s not easy to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes 500 Days of Summer so endearing. Is it the non-linear progression? No, that actually got me a little confused and annoyed at times. Could it be the creative visual style and the innovative storytelling techniques? I liked it, but I don’t think so. Maybe it was the characters, the way the conventional male-female relationship stereotypes were flipped on their head. But surely this isn’t the first time this has been done. Could it be the main leads? Well, Zooey Deschanel is very cute and I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives the performance of his career, but no, I don’t think so. And while it is a funny film, it’s not constantly or outrageously hilarious. The laughs come from very random and quirky comments and moments, which are brilliantly conceived, but I’ve seen funnier films in the last couple of years.
So what is it that made the film so enjoyable and delightful? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all of the above. Or none. Love isn’t rational anyway.
The film just has this incredibly sweet sensation to it. It captures that feeling of falling hopelessly in love, the passion, the despair, the heartbreak, and the bitter-sweet aftermath. I can’t think of another film that has done it this well, this real, with so much creativity, and so much heart. And with a cracker of a soundtrack too.
5 out of 5 stars!
[PS: Maybe I will have another opinion of it upon a second viewing. I did, after all, watch this on the eve of my two-year wedding anniversary.]