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Archive for September 7th, 2009

Summer Loving

I went to see (500) Days of Summer yesterday and have been pondering how or indeed if I would review it.  I really enjoyed but not sure how to express that without giving too much of the plot away.  Therefore I thought I would make a few comments on the film rather than actually review it (trust me there is a difference!).  For that reason I suggest anyone who hasn’t seen the film but is thinking of seeing it only read on if you don’t mind having key elements of the plot revealed.    

500 days of summer

Still with me? If you are reading this you have probably already seen the film and will be familiar with the way the film is constructed.  Set over 500 day it dispenses with a linear narrative instead choosing to jump backwards and forwards to different parts of the relationship between Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel).  Through this we gradually build up a picture of who these people are as well as what happened to them.  It is this perfectly executed structure that makes the film radically different to standard romantic comedies that have not evolved as cinema and society have in the last 60 years.  The tone of the film is perfectly set by the Author’s Note that appears at the start of the film:  The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental……..Especially you Jenny Beckman……… Bitch.  And the Narrators comment: “This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know up front, this is not a love story”. 

A film like this lives and dies by its leading players Joseph Gordon-Levitt is perfectly cast and gives a great performance.  Zooey Deschanel is only partly successful, she only seems able to play slight variations on the same slightly kooky character but that does work in this film.  Although towards the end of the film the prospective and therefore the perception of thee characters has changed Summer seems to be perceived by many viewers as a villain, for example the other day she was short listed as one of the summers most memorable villains in an online poll.  This I think this is  a little harsh, although I didn’t particularly like her character and struggled to understand the huge attraction to her she was always honest about her intensions and feelings.  On the other hand the only thing that prevented Tom’s obsession coming across a little creepy is a great performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  This animosity towards Summer and love for Tom is a great shame, the film makers skillfully changed our perception of the characters over the course of the film but they may have done it a little too subtlety for some viewers who struggle to see beyond first impressions.  Still this creates an interesting debate, their unchanging view parallels Tom, and like Tom does with life they will get more out of the film when they see perceive things differently.

This is where the real plot spoiler comes in so, anyone who hasn’t seen the film, you have been warned!  Ultimately although the relationship fails they both come out of it for the better.  Tom has got himself out of a rut and has set himself on a new career path.  Summer although she never uses the expression, we are expected to believe is now in love, something she didn’t think was possible.  Tom’s argument for Summer not believing in love is that she hadn’t met the right person.  Ultimately he was proved to be spot on like in any other romantic comedy; the only difference is that in this film our leading man isn’t the right person.  Five hundred odd words later, I haven’t even mentioned the music which is great by the way.  Enough said.  So this is probably the time to mention an interesting footnote take a look at this and this on IMDB, it looks like they actually filmed a scene to go with the Sid and Nancy conversation.

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