“(500) Days of Summer” turns convention on its ear.
You can regard it as one long cliché or as a delightful, bittersweet romance that lands on its feet with considerable grace and insight.
I prefer the latter.
Marc Webb’s movie is both saved and enhanced by a winning screenplay and by two winning performances by Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Above all, and despite its reliance on cliché, “(500) Days of Summer” does not try to be cute, even if it at first disarms us with a nonlinear narrative.
‘(500) Days of Summer’
DIRECTED BY Marc Webb
SCREENPLAY BY Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
STARRING Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel
RUNNING TIME 95 minutes
Levitt plays Tom, who is as intelligent as he is inexperienced in the ways of love. He is the narrator who warns us that his story may not have a happy, fairy-tale ending. In this regard, “(500) Days” may remind you of Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall,” although Tom is anything but a neurotic character.
He is a modern Everyman who falls hard for the new girl in his office. She is Summer, played by Deschanel with a kind of flighty confidence. She is the woman many men dream of catching: smart, attractive, a bit elusive and a lot of fun.
Summer is also unpredictable, a quality Tom finds confusing. For some men, she is the woman destined to break a guy’s heart. Surely, they will see Summer as the classic bitch, even if they confess to an irrepressible attraction. Such are the perils of romantic reality.
Deschanel is perfect as Summer, presenting her character as a carefree pragmatist who may be incapable of falling in love, as lovely as she is. You sense that Tom may not be her first victim. On the other hand, she remains an attractive mate who means no harm. She is either fickle, painfully honest or as confused as her new catch.
The bottom line is that both leads offer us credible characters. Because their story is grounded in reality, it will stimulate conversations and perhaps stir up all sorts of memories. It is, if you will excuse a cliché, a perfect date movie.
Contact Dan DiNicola at [email protected]
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