(500) Days of Summer (B+)

500 Days of SummerThis is not a love story – nor is it a full-fledged love review either. Just like when expectations don’t exactly meet reality, (500) Days of Summer boasts near unanimous critical praise as well as strong audience reception but truthfully does not nearly capture my imagination and my open arms as it has to others.

Don’t get me wrong, Marc Webb’s feature film debut is as creative, witty and offbeat as romantic comedies can ever get. With the passionate narrative of the film’s screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the Sundance audience favorite hits all the right notes in its treatment of a sensitive and intoxicated young man named Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his travails courting a charming yet uncommitted young woman in Summer (Zooey Deschanel).

Gordon-Levitt performance is titanic and his phenomenal chemistry with the whimsical and often powerful Deschanel is quite honestly the heart and soul of why this film, for the most part, succeeds. Channeling a Heath Ledger-esque enigmatic charisma to him, Gordon-Levitt goes on for most of the film in a dire state of confusion over his apparently hopeless pursuit of Summer. He is inquisitive, insightful and impressionistic as Tom and he certainly breaks through towards the mainstream because of his star-turning role in this film.

The film’s weakness despite its seemingly uncanny sensibility ironically lies in its convention. Much of its originality lies in Webb’s ability to translate Neustadter and Weber’s heartfelt yet muddled screenplay onto the big screen – and it is undoubtedly astounding throughout, yet all of it feels somehow distant and, for the lack of a better term, mainstream.

For an independent film that just means more good news and more welcome commercial success. I just feel that (500) Days of Summer, in spite of its honesty and sincerity, certainly can’t match the love I have for Juno or the perennially unforgettable Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

More along the lines of last year’s Oscar and audience darling Slumdog Millionaire, the film, at least in my opinion, walks too closely along the lines of the typical rather than the wholly uncompromising.

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2 Responses to “(500) Days of Summer (B+)”

  1. Yeah, I guess we all don’t have that critical taste as you do, but then again looking at it at it’s very essence, I guess that the film actually has this message that you don’t really find in most films nowadays. In my opinion, you have a cacophony of cheesy films out there locally and internationally which idealize what love is supposed to be – stereotypes like it’s destiny, it’s fate, it’s meant to be, love goes beyond all bounderies, etc. But after watching this film, it gives you the other side of the coin – like how perhaps it’s all coincidence and the choices you do that actually affect the outcome.

    Perhaps one of the tensions in the film I noticed was that – how Tom was so inclined to believe that the person who he would fall in love with would be the one, and how he said that you just know it when you feel it. Summer on the other hand held a completely different paradigm wherein she didn’t believe in love. But in the very end, you see how their views had completely changed to the other extreme: you see Summer saying that she got married because she felt like he was the right one, and Tom actually doing something and not staying in his ideal world wherein he just waits for the hand of fate to guide him. Maybe that’s why I liked the movie – it breaks down the stereotypes love by showing that you just don’t leave it to fate or destiny as in the case of Tom, yet there is still that element of seredipity involved as in the case of Summer.

    So at the end of the day, I would say that it shows a pretty unconventional view as it breaks down the stereotypes. The fact that Tom said in the end that it is all just coincidence grounds it to the possibility that it is our own actions that make things happen. It breaks down those stereotypes wherein you have a movie and the guy and the girl end up together in the end anyway. It pretty much shows something unique that you don’t find in most films nowadays wherein you have boy meets girl.

    P.S. I really respect your review about the film; I’m not really bashing or anything but just giving my own two cents as to why I really liked the film. Yeah, I’m not a film buff, nor have I seen too many cheesy films, but what I really liked above else was the message the film portrayed and in my opinion, it did that pretty well. 🙂

  2. carlochong Says:

    very well written bro! i like your take on the film. nice nice:D

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