(500) Days of Summer Review: Cool Summer

(500) Days of Summer: On General Release across the UK from September 2nd 2009

Golly gosh, did Hollywood need this.

Director Marc Webb brings us a movie with a romance at its crux that won’t repulse viewers for its frustrating outlandishness or by shamelessly piling on a slew of false sentimentality.

It’s romantic and it’s comic but to call it romcom would be doing it a massive disservice.

(500) Days of Summer tells the story of the relationship between pensive romantic Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and ethereal pragmatist Summer (Zooey Deschanel).

The story is stitched together into a patchwork of moments from the 500 days that make up their relationship; some seemingly unremarkable, others magical. All utterly delightful.

Meeting via a mutual love of The Smiths in their drab greeting card company working quarters, Tom and Summer find confidants in each other, wiling away days fantasising about a different life.

While Tom is blissfully head-over-heels for Summer, the narrative being very much from his point of view, the strain on the partnership begins to tell as Summer’s skepticism toward love and relationships reveals itself.

Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have opted to treat us like adults and tell love it like it is. Encouraging the viewer’s intimate involvement in its sheer honesty, it’s infinitely more powerful than the hoopla of romcoms. They may have been harmless escapism once but now they’re often so far removed from reality they’re laughable.

With so much invested in the characters, when it does threaten to enter schmaltzville (as it inevitably will, as is the way of love) it’s forgiven. While there are the slightly cheesy bits, they’re never there to fudge sentimentality.

500 Days is more grown up than that. It’s seen a bit of the world and has the confidence not to rely on spectacle.

The show is carried by the effortless charisma and chemistry of its leads, a welcome break from the stock pile of Bullocks, Hudsons, and McConnagheys who from the off know how their movies will pan out thanks to the giant spoiler of the title on the cover of the script.

There’s a notable performance from Chloe Moretz, who plays Tom’s witty 12-year-old sister and oracle. She’s definitely going places.

While it does clunk a little toward the end (or like a fleeting romance, just doesn’t last long enough), it’s an exceptionally executed, sincere take on an alternative love story, one unlikely to be surpassed by any other in its field this year.


Leonie Mercedes

Make sure you don’t miss out on this brilliantly whimsical, heart-warming music video the entire crew made for Zoey Deschanal’s band – guaranteed to make you smile! Oh and our Lowdown on Zooey Deschanal herself (AKA The Top 10 Things You Never Knew About…) is hugely interesting…. We’re also loving what promises to be the sci-fi of the year District 9