Festival Buzz Film Review: (500) Days Of Summer

Posted in Film, Reviews, SXSW
By Sam Bathe on 19 Apr 2009

When you think romantic comedy, sadly it’s awful one dimensional movies like He’s Just Not That Into You and Bride Wars that come to mind, not the sweet and charming indie offerings like Juno and Garden State. Though they could all be construed as a rom-com, the sub-genre puts the indie films in a bad light by mere categorisation with the Hollywood productions.

After (500) Days Of Summer opens with the line “This is the story of boy meets girl, but this is not a love story,” let’s, for now, leave the detrimental gentrification and instead focus on the film.

Based on the real life experiences of writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, (500) Days Of Summer charts the once happy, but now failed, relationship between Tom (Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Deschanel). By day, Tom is a greetings card copywriter, and by night, a hopeless romantic, harbouring the dreams and ideals of true love, Summer, however, does not. Nevertheless, after Summer is hired as secretary at Tom’s office, the pair start dating, coexisting for 500 happy days, and on that, they break-up. Breaking Tom’s heart, he delves into their relationship, reliving every moment to try and figure out where it all went wrong, before trying to win her back.

Rooted in the present before jumping back and forth through the relationship to examine their time together, (500) Days Of Summer manages to coherently develop a story without feeling like the diary retelling of Benjamin Button or The Notebook, and so avoids feeling disjointed and incoherent. Despite the fact you always know where the relationship is going, ie. they break-up, not once does the narrative feel like it has a pre-defined ending, never lagging or falling into boredom.

Buoyed on by great performances in the central roles, (500) Days Of Summer is one of the most charming films of the year to date and boasts the carefree and cheery attitude donned by the aforementioned Juno to such great success. Staying away from crude jokes, the film is very subtle in its comedic approach but before the closing credits role you’ll still be near in tears with laughter on many occasions.

With such an honest script, deep-rooted in real life, it’s very easy to relate to Tom and Summer, and more so, easy to fall in love with their story and the moment you leave the cinema, you’ll want to be right back in there, seeing the it again.The fantastic soundtrack helps along the way, but even without, (500) Days Of Summer would capture the hearts of any film fan. Hopefully the Neustadter and Weber have already got another project in the work.

★★★★★

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