In an age where love has become over saturated in every medium of entertainment, it might be worth checking out a film that breaks the trend, 500 Days of Summer.
A favorite for the lonely and an overall great film, 500 Days of Summer may just be the perfect movie to cope with Valentine’s Day blues. Directed by Marc Webb, this 2009 movie boasts the talents of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, a great soundtrack, and a bittersweet story at its core.
Told out of order, this movie presents the 500 days that Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is infatuated with Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Tom is shown to suffer from a one-sided love story, and this is an aspect not often shown in the romance genre. From the dance number to Daryl Hall and John Oates’ “You Make My Dreams,” to the simple meeting of a boy and a girl in the elevator, 500 Days of Summer oozes with cheesy scenes and their contrast to real life.
The movie follows many trends of classic romantic comedies, but also effectively sets itself apart from the others. Expertly crafted scenes show Tom’s expectations and the often-underwhelming reality. With references to other romantic films like The Graduate (1967), it serves as the antithesis to all romance films before it.
As Tom says, this ‘is not your typical love story’. The film is for everyone who has ever fallen in love, and hoped for a future with their significant other, only to see their invested time go to waste. Many will relate to Tom, the typical everyman and hopeless romantic. Tom is the ‘nice guy’ who has been spoiled by modern views of love and represents what is wrong with current romanticism. Constantly seeking Summer’s reciprocated feelings, he idolizes her, thereby sacrificing any happiness that could come from the relationship.
Summer on the other hand, represents ‘the one that got away.’ Summer lives her life day by day, and never allows herself to be tied down by a relationship. She never sacrifices her individual thoughts and feelings for the sake of a relationship, and in turn feels content all the time.
As the film is told through Tom’s perspective, it is easy to see his side of things, and call her selfish, and this is only partially true. Summer never tells Tom that she loves him back, but that is her own choice. As the ‘romantic hero’ of this story, Tom’s weakness as a person lies in his inability to move on. However, through the film, He is shown to go through major character development, and this is the most rewarding part of the film.
500 Days of Summer gives a commentary on modern romance and uses classic romantic movie techniques to give a quick, uplifting feel-good movie. The movie never feels bogged down by its non-linear storytelling and gives an altogether great experience that makes viewers stop and think about how love in media has shaped their views on romance.