With (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb perfectly captures the intricacies of relationships and love, but make no mistake this is no love story. By going down this anti-rom-com route, there’s a good chance some viewers may be put off, perhaps due to being spoon fed a few too many mainstream ‘happily ever afters’ . That being said, fans of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or Annie Hall will find a lot of enjoyment in this bittersweet indie film.
Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a strong believer in true love believes that Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is ‘the one’ he’s been patiently waiting for. A booze-fueled karaoke session is enough to convince him that his long wait is finally over, but things soon become complicated. As their 500 day relationship unfolds before us, it soon becomes apparent that the young couple have very different ideas as to what love is. Displayed in a non-linear format jumping from juxtaposing moments of utter bliss and soul destroying anguish, it’s during these highs and lows that we see each of their perceptions of the L word and the emotional baggage it holds.
Zooey Deschanel effortlessly embodies the complex girl who got away. Unsure of what she wants and afraid of commitment, she’s the spanner in Tom’s plans for a perfect relationship but also the cog that makes it all work. Gordon-Levitt meanwhile proves that he can play a rom-com lead just as easily as playing an art-house hero, even if he isn’t exactly your textbook rom-com frontman. Funny and likable throughout, it’s through Tom that the films uplifting message is transferred.
With a kick-ass soundtrack to boot, (500) Days of Summer is an impressive first feature from Webb. A bi-polar mix of romance, comedy and drama with some off-the-wall sequences thrown in to catch you off guard just when you think you’ve got it clocked. It’s the feel good film which reflects modern relationships, reminding us all that while love, fate and chance may come and go like Summer, they do still exist.