(500) Days of Summer (2009)

(500) Days of Summer is Marc Webb‘s first movie, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a hopeless romantic, just waiting to meet a girl he can fall in love with. When he meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel), he believes that he has found her. But since the movie is told in flashbacks, we know that things didn’t turn out the way he had planned: Tom only got 500 days with Summer.

There were some things I liked about (500) Days of Summer but mostly I spent the movie supressing my urge to kick Tom in the shins. Repeatedly. Still, it’s not a movie I can condemn completely.

Marc Webb has a good feeling for pacing, a good soundtrack and he knows just when to be absurd. There were some perfect scenes – especially when he played with the genre conventions. The dance scene, for example, or the reality/expectations comparison. Or the short animated sequence. I also really liked the introduction of Summer and Tom.

But an entire movie is, of course, hard to pull off when the character who holds it all together is that annoying. I was torn between wanting to choke or shake him and just tell him to grow the fuck up.

This, btw., has nothing to do with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who I love for various reasons and who I think is incredibly talented). His performance was awesome, as was Zooey Deschanel’s (more surprisingly).

Before the movie I had read some reviews complaining about Summer being yet another Manic Pixie Dream Girl and that it was incredibly frustrating. In this case, I have to disagree: Summer is not a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but Tom sees her as one – and is ridiculed for it.

[Vaguely spoilery paragraph follows.]

In general, until the end, Tom is a character you can’t really take seriously (which would have been awesome if he hadn’t been so annoying). But then, everything works out his way and Summer, who was always his counterweight, agrees with him and his worldview. And that just felt like a cop-out. Also, it was at that point that I wanted to kick Summer for basically stopping to be herself and starting to be Tom. [Yeah, I got slightly aggressive watching this movie.]

Well. What can I say – there are many good and sweet things about this movie. If you can stand Tom, you’re probably going to like it.

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