500 Days of Summer
Runtime: 1 hr 36 min
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Rachel Boston
One of the best -- and quite possible the best -- film of the year.
Review by: SteveRhodes
Added: 8 years ago
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER is so absolutely adorable that, as the ending credits were rolling, I had the overwhelming urge to wrap my arms around the movie and never let it go. It was so precious and utterly enjoyable that I wish its fast 96 minutes had been 500. I could never get enough of this delightful tale. When the DVD comes out, I hope it's chock full of deleted scenes. Although I usually never watch them on DVDs, I want to see every minute possible of this wonderful film.
It's hard to know where to begin in describing one of the best -- and quite possible the best -- film of the year. From the very beginning you know the movie will be something special, as it opens with one of the funniest textual introductions I can remember. After that, the frequent narrator carefully sets the stage for us, by explaining, "This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know up front that it isn't a love story."
The film is perfectly cast, especially in the two leads. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (THE LOOKOUT) plays Tom, a guy with a hangdog look and the unshakable belief in the existence of "the one," as in the one person in the world that he is destined to fall in love with and be with for the rest of his life.
One day, Tom, a greeting card writer, is so smitten that you can almost see Cupid's arrow shooting through his heart. Summer (Zooey Deschanel), who left Michigan to escape boredom, has moved to L.A. to become the assistant to Tom's boss. She is as commitment phobic as Tom is commitment obsessed. She makes it clear to Tom from their first romantic encounter that she intends never to be anyone's girlfriend and that their relationship will never be serious, even if it does become sexual. Of course, Tom claims to agree with her demands, although he doesn't mean it for a minute.
As a comedy, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER is absolutely, side-splittingly hilarious, but that somehow manages to be eclipsed by something more special. As a touching, captivating romance between two hopelessly different characters, this is where the film achieves true greatness. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber's script for our two lovebirds is superb. (Okay, so it's technically one lovebird and one, well, likebird.)
Devised as a series of days in their lives, the film skips back and forth in time with cute little title cards giving us the number of the day, from one to five hundred, in Tom and Summer's relationship. Especially well done is the way certain things work great for them early on, while the exact same things will have the opposite effect when their relationship wanes.
There is so much else in film to recommend it as well. Matthew Gray Gubler (the long-haired nerdy doctor from "Criminal Minds") and Geoffrey Arend give excellent performances as Paul and McKenzie, Tom's two geeky best friends. As Rachel, Tom's wise-beyond-her-years sister, Chloe Moretz is a real scene stealer.
No matter how often Summer lectures Tom with thoughts such as, "There is no such thing as love. It's a fantasy," the movie comes across as a sweet, albeit frequently bittersweet, ode to the need for love. Deschanel is as cute as a bug, so, no matter how often her character claims to eschew a belief in the concept of love, it's hard not to fall for her. Director Marc Webb displays a real aptitude for knowing exactly how to handle his actors. Deschanel, in particular, can sometimes be excessively quirky, but this time the director has Deschanel's quirkiness dial set to exact the right number.
I can't end this review without mentioning Eric Steelberg's dreamy cinematography. Every scene, indoors and out, is shot with a wonderfully inviting, warmly golden glow.
This is a near perfect film. Its only problem is that it eventually has to end. I did not want it to stop.
As I said in beginning, this film is so absolutely adorable that I wanted to hug it and never let it go.