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"(500) Days of Summer"- (Chris)
Chris Pandolfi
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date:
Special Features:

Commentary with Director Marc Webb, Writer Michael Weber/"Lost Days of Summer"/Deleted and Extended Scenes With Optional Commentary/& Exclusive to Blu-Ray see below:


"(500) Days of Summer," which currently has an 87% approval rating at, is a wonderfully refreshing experience, a romantic comedy that doesn’t follow the rules of a romantic comedy. It’s inventive, intelligent, and engaging, a story of the dualities a young man lives with on a daily basis. On the one hand, there’s the duality between falling in love and believing that love doesn’t exist; Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) grew up believing in fate bringing soul mates together whereas Summer (Zooey Deschanel) grew up not believing in much of anything, least of all lasting relationships. ***

On the other hand, there’s the duality between what one would like to happen and what actually does happen; we often go through life with expectations, even though we know deep down that most will never be met. Tom is in a tug-of-war between his romantic fantasies and the reality that Summer doesn’t believe in true love. ***

Levitt’s performance is a revelation. He plays Tom with sincerity. Tom is approachable and good natured, highly confident yet not so above-it-all that he can’t be desperate and miserable at times. He writes greeting cards for a living but has always dreamed of becoming an architect, and he often finds inspiration from the Los Angeles skyscrapers that surround him. ***

His story unfolds in much the same way a memory does, with fragments that pop up all out of sequence until the reality of those 500 days become clear. Some may be confused by this, but keep in mind that memory and chronological order never go hand in hand. This is especially true when reflecting on a relationship. Tom continuously thinks back trying to make sense of it all, only to end up considering the possibility that Summer was right all along. ***

Deschanel, who seemed so awkward in films like "Yes Man" and "The Happening," here is perfectly cast. Summer is charming, fun, and sweet, but she’s also mysterious, distant, and casual about life. She dates Tom and even makes love to him, yet she will never see him as anything more than a friend. She’s with him not because she’s in love--she’s just having fun while living in the moment. ***

It’s about all she can do given the fact that she can’t love anything, save for the length of her hair and the fact that she can cut it off without feeling anything. There are a few select moments, however, when she connects with Tom at a more personal level, inviting him into her artsy apartment and eventually opening up about past experiences. This makes Tom feel appreciated, as he believes, perhaps correctly, that she doesn’t go this far with too many people. ***

By the end of the film, Tom feels like someone we’ve gotten to know. Summer, on the other hand, remains enigmatic, underscoring the uncertainty engrained in any kind of relationship. There are times when Tom thinks he has her figured out. There are other times when it seems as if they’ve never even met. Loving relationships are based on compromises, and while Tom would be willing to make a few, Summer most definitely would not. She does what she wants when she wants it. This is admirable, but when matters of the heart are involved, the line does need to be drawn somewhere. ***

Tom’s emotional roller coaster ride occasionally gets the visual treatment. In one scene, he becomes the star of a musical number featuring dancers and a cartoon bluebird. In another scene, he imagines himself as characters in black and white European art house films by Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini. ***

The single most creative shot has him standing in the middle of the street while the buildings transform into an architectural sketch, much like the one he drew on Summer’s arm. Director Marc Webb treats these scenes not as showcases of special effects but as special moments of heightened reality, which is fitting given the battle waged between what Tom desires and what he actually gets. The most obvious interpretation of this theme is a split-screen image late in the film, one side marked "Expectations," the other side marked "Reality." ***

These extra touches make this movie enjoyable, but its Gordon and Deschanel that make it a joy to watch. They have chemistry. You believe in them as actual people and not merely as characters. They show just how talented they are as actors, although credit must also be given to Webb’s direction and the screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. They breathe life into "(500) Days of Summer," a film we’re told right off the bat is not a love story. ***

Nor should it be; we’ve seen love stories before, and while they more or less work as entertaining distractions, rarely do they provide insight or even traces of plausibility. This movie is more ambitious than that.

Special Features:

Commentary with Director Marc Webb, Writer Michael Weber, Co-Writer Scott Neustadter, and Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Lost Days of Summer: Deleted and Extended Scenes With Optional Commentary by Director Marc Webb, Writer Michael Weber, Co-Writer Scott Neustadter and Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Deleted Scenes/

Blu-ray Edition:

The Blu-Ray edition contains two discs: one with the bonus features and the other contains the digital edition of 500 Days of Summer/

• Not A Love Story – Making (500) Days of Summer

• Summer At Sundance

Two Audition Tapes With Optional Commentary By Director Marc Webb —Geoffrey Arend (”McKenzie”) —Matthew Gray Gubler (”Paul”)

• Summer Storyboards

• Bank Dance Directed By Marc Webb

• Mean’s Cinemash: “Sid and Nancy/(500) Days of Summer”

• Music Video: “Sweet Disposition” By Temper Trap

• Six Conversations With Zooey and Joseph

• Filmmaking Specials

Final Words:

"500 Days Of Summer" aims to tell a story without resorting to cheap gimmicks like cliché dialogue or contrived plotlines. The end result is a story that’s often funny, often thoughtful, and always compelling.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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