In the first instalment of our new ‘retro review’ series, Hassan Khan takes us all the way back to the dim and distant year of 2009, and gives us his assessment of quirky Rom-Com, 500 Days of Summer…
This is a story of boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl doesn’t believe in love.
An interesting yet somewhat simplistic tagline for a film that manages to include so many different elements and meanings. To be honest, I put off seeing this film for a long time because it always seemed like just another cheesy chick flick – a formulaic rom-com that wouldn’t differ from its genre. However, what eventually drew to me to the film was its main character – aspiring architect (and hopeless romantic), Tom Hansen. Tom is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt – an actor with whom I was familiar, and whose performances I’d enjoyed in a number of other films.
The story is told in a nonlinear narrative and takes place over the space of 500 days. During this period, Tom recalls how he met Summer and what happened during their relationship. This is perhaps the strongest element of the film because it doesn’t dwell on any one moment for too long. For example, we are shown how Tom and Summer meet in the earlier days and, instead of expanding on this instantly, the film jumps forward 20 days to the moment they establish their feelings for one another. This shows many different sides to their characters and also allows the writers to include random moments for comedic purposes. As these fast-forwards happen frequently throughout the film, they give the writers the opportunity to explore specific scenes in more detail. These carefully chosen scenes prove vital in the overall context of the film.
Something I really appreciated about this film (other than the script), was the casting decisions. Joseph Gordon- Levitt and Zooey Deschanel have a fantastic on-screen chemistry which really carries the film and makes their relationship seem realistic. Both actors give their character a quirky yet unique persona, which really allows the audience to engage with the storyline and root for the two to end up together.
What We Loved:
– Strong casting choices
– Nonlinear narrative works out extremely well
– Great direction by Marc Webb and superb script
– Awesome soundtrack!
What Made Us Go ‘Meh’:
– A little more character development might have been needed on Tom
– A better supporting cast (except Chloe Grace Moretz who was fantastic)
Overall, 500 Days of Summer is a unique and surprisingly funny film. Different from others of its genre, it encompasses the random hilarity of relationships and their frequent misunderstandings, whilst somehow capturing the heart-breaking sadness of unrequited love.
More of Hassan’s awesome reviews can be found on his blog: hassreviews.blogspot.co.uk