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Friday, July 17, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

(500) Days of Summer

Release Date: July 17th, 2009

Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language

Running time: 95 minutes


Marc Webb (dir.)

Scott Neustadter (writer)

Michael H. Weber (writer)

Mychael Danna (music)

Rob Simonsen (music)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom

Zooey Deschanel as Summer

Geoffrey Arend as McKenzie

Chloe Moretz as Rachel

Matthew Gray Gubler as Paul

Clark Gregg as Vance

Patricia Belcher as Millie

Rachel Boston as Alison

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer

A Fox Searchlight Pictures Release

Our reviews below:


(500) Days of Summer Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

(500) Days of Summer is an incredibly smart and entertaining romantic-comedy. Those are words you could only hope to use when describing something that falls into the “rom-com” category. After the “rom-coms” that came out this past February, (the over-long and very boring He’s just Not That Into You, and the mildly enjoyable but nothing special Confessions of a Shopaholic), this film is extremely refreshing.

We are told right at the beginning that this is not a love story, it’s a story about love. Mainly due to a misunderstanding of the ending of The Graduate, Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) grew up believing in true-love. He falls in love with the new Secretary at his office, (he works for a greeting card company), Summer Finn who believes that true-love doesn’t exist. Tom is convinced that Summer is “the one”, Summer is just trying to have fun. Through their relationship, we are led to an immensely satisfying conclusion.

With the roles reversed, this could have just been a conventional film. The fact that it’s told from Tom’s perspective makes it fresh and original right from the start. Every familiar element in the film is done in a way that manages to be totally original. Fractured narratives, split-screens, and other storytelling devices are used, but the film never becomes cliched. None of the techniques feel out of place. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and, the always likable, Zooey Deschanel are paired perfectly. They both give great performances, and create believable characters that we actually care about.

In one of my favorite scenes, Tom walks out his front door smiling, which leads to a dance number in the park complete with a little animated blue bird. The scene doesn’t over stay it’s welcome, and in this film is actually believable. In one of my other favorite scenes Tom and Summer play “house” in an IKEA store. The scene almost plays out like an extended commercial for the Swedish furniture store. It’s moments like these that wouldn’t necessarily work, but the filmmakers use them to perfection. It never feels fake or forced. Not one scene feels out of place.

The movie also has an incredibly cool soundtrack, featuring music from artists like The Smiths and Regina Spektor, and the kind of “indie” music you would expect from this type of film. It’s more mature than the excellent soundtrack for Juno and it’s indie pop offerings. But like that film’s soundtrack, this one is also destined to become incredibly popular.

This is sure to have the same type of following as other great Fox Searchlight films like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. If it keeps gaining in popularity over the summer, than who knows? This might even become a dark horse awards candidate.

It’s also probably the best romantic-comedy to have come out in quite a while. Go see it, it’s a lot of fun. I dare you not to fall in love with this movie.


(500) Days of Summer Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

I should warn you before you read this review, I am not reviewing a love story. I am reviewing one of the - no wait - the most original romantic comedy I have seen this year. (Or any other year for that matter!) This is a movie that you will not want to miss this Summer!

(500) Days of Summer starts after Tom, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), has already broken up with Summer, (Zooey Deschanel). He doesn’t know where their relationship went wrong, as he still loves her a lot. He can’t remember any big ‘moment’ when it ended. So, he resolves to look back at his relationship, and so, as he remembers, we are taken to various out of order days in his 500 day relationship with Summer.

This kind of unconventional method of storytelling is not at all confusing, at least to me. Each day is labeled on the screen when it starts, so we can follow along if we are nearer to the beginning or the end of their (romantic) relationship. The use of split screens, a song and dance number, flashbacks, and time spent in the present day, really tell the story well. It is refreshing to see the tale of a relationship told in reverse from most movies - e.g., from the man’s point of view (and partially chronologically backwards). You see in this movie, it is the man, Tom, who believes in true love, while the woman, Summer, does not.

The acting in this movie is spot on, and all of the characters are impeccably cast. The soundtrack fits the style so well, as does Michael Danna’s score to the film. This film knows what it is, what kind of style it has, and that is unique. Kind of like IKEA, where they go in the film - in one of my favorite scenes, actually.

What our journey with Tom sees him realize, and helps us realize is important for all of us to remember. Just as the seasons change, so does life - we can’t predict what will happen. Things work out the way they are meant to - not necessarily the way we think they will - but that can be alright.

I can’t wait to see (500) Days of Summer) again. There is just something so likable about this film. Neither character - Tom, nor Summer - are the ‘bad guy’ in the relationship, they just want different things...

I am wholly recommending (500) Days of Summer. It is one of the best movies in theatres right now. Go out and see it this Summer.


(500) Days of Summer Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

(500) Days of Summer is a fun and cleverly made romantic comedy. Told through flashbacks of particular numbered days, the movie tells the story of a man who meets a girl, and tries to figure out why his relationship with her failed. The man, Tom, works at a card company writing sappy messages for greeting cards. (though his real passion is architecture and drawings.) Tom always felt lonely, and really wants a girlfriend. So he is thrilled when he meets a beautiful coworker named Summer. They start dating, and Tom finds himself falling in love with Summer. Summer likes Tom, but considers their relationship casual. Tom, on the other hand, is blind to this fact, believing that Summer is “the one”. However, as time goes by, Tom has to contend with the fact that he and Summer have a different idea of what their relationship means. He at first is heartbroken with their breakup, but realizes that this perhaps isn’t the end of the world. Once he can let Summer go, and do what is best for her, Tom’s life takes a very positive turn.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The use of flashbacks and flashing forward worked, and was not too confusing. I also liked the use of split screens to tell some of the story. There are a lot of funny and quirky scenes in this movie. One of my favourite scenes involved Summer and Tom playing house in an Ikea showroom. Another one of my favourite scenes is a song and dance number involving Tom singing about Summer, while dancing through the street with an animated bluebird. (This scene reminded me of the Disney film Enchanted.) The use of narration worked, which kind of reminded me about the movie One Week. I also thought it was cute how Tom’s little sister would give him relationship advice. And one of the nicest things about this film is the message. Everything happens for a reason. And sometimes, true love happens when we don’t look for it.

(500) Days of Summer is a fun, light comedy, that makes for a light summer viewing. Don’t miss it.


(500) Days of Summer Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

(500) Days of Summer is a lighthearted, funny look at love and relationships. Told with the help of a narrator and numbered by day flashbacks, the main character, Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tries to figure out exactly when in the 500 days his relationship with co-worker, Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) fell apart.

The movie jumps back and forth in time and so as not to confuse the viewer, a day number flashes on the screen before key scenes. We get to watch how Tom and Summer meet at the greeting card company and get to follow them on various dates. The time when they are dating has some of the funniest scenes. Their dates in the IKEA store are particularly funny. Anyone who has ever played pretend in an IKEA room display will enjoy these scenes. Another really funny scene is when Tom is so thrilled to be in love he has a song and dance sequence in the park with an animated blue bird If you’ve seen and love Disney’s movie ‘Enchanted’ then you’ll enjoy this song and dance number.

Tom has trouble accepting and understanding when Summer leaves the greeting card company and his life. His loyal, but oddball, best friends try to support him whatever they can. Tom also gets support and advice from his older than her years, 12 year old sister. With their support and a long hard look at himself, Tom sets forth to change his life. He returns to his first love, architecture and eventually understands what really happened in the 500 days of Summer.

(500) Days of Summer is an enjoyable movie from start to finish. The acting is good, the overall story light and fun, and the soundtrack is really pleasant to listen to. What I really liked was how the story wrapped up as it should, with happy endings all around.

This is a perfect summer movie. Older teens, adults who like comedy and romance will appreciate (500) Days of Summer. Treat yourself to an hour and a half of summer fun.


(500) Days of Summer Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

After an initial disclaimer from the offscreen narrator that 500 days of Summer is not a love story between Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel), followed by a split-screen montage of their childhood backstories, the film jumps back and forth between scenes of the early relationship and after the breakup, each scene flagged by the number of the day on which it occurs. While Tom believes she is “the one” love of his life, Summer has never really loved anyone, and just wants to have fun. Always seeing things from Tom’s point of view, we are left guessing right up to the last few minutes where they will be on day 500. When we finally know, it all makes sense.

Already compared to Annie Hall, 500 days of Summer has many memorable scenes that we will enjoy over and over again. Though we may have seen similar devices in other films, they have never been done better. For example, I enjoyed the deadpan narration reminiscent of Vicky Christina Barcelona and most recently One Week. After his first night with Summer, Tom steps outside grinning to a happy tune, sees himself reflected in a shop window as a young Harrison Ford, then walks jauntily down the street, first smiling at, then gladhanding, and soon finding himself carried aloft holding an animated bird in a full-blown production number. It sneaks up on us so effortlessly and is over so quickly that we can’t help laugh out loud. In another surreal sequence, Tom sees himself as the tragic hero of a film noir playing opposite a mime. IKEA fans will enjoy seeing Tom & Summer pretending to pick out home furnishings and ending up making out on a bed under the staring eyes of an Asian family. Tom and Summer run into each other after some time apart, and she invites him to a party where the screen is split into what Tom wishes would happen and what really happens. Tom’s childhood friend Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler), his colleague McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) and even his precocious tween sister Rachel (Chloe Moretz) are always ready with advice and even an intervention to help Tom get over Summer. Of course everything is accompanied with a good selection of appropriate tunes.

It is a pleasure to see two good attractive actors under 30 playing off each other in a good script. Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel have worked too hard on their stage and screen careers to waste time with celebrity culture and so it is easy to identify with them as normal people–more Tom Hanks than Tom Cruise.


Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer


Consensus: (500) Days of Summer boasts a style of storytelling that is a lot of fun to watch. The acting, music, and story are all very good. A unique movie that is really worth seeing this Summer. ***3/4 (Out of 4)

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