August 29, 2012

Movie Review – (500) Days Of Summer (Mini Review)

Filed under: Mini Review,Movie Review — Rodney Twelftree @ 12:01 am

– Summary –

Director : Marc Webb
Year Of Release : 2009
Principal Cast : Joseph Gordon-Lovitt, Zooey Deschanel
Approx Running Time : 120 Minutes
Aspect Ratio : 2.40:1
Synopsis: A greeting card writer falls in love with his bosses beautiful young assistant, and they spend time getting to know each other – but are his feelings for her reciprocated?
What we think : Terrific romantic dramadey with touching, elegant scripting and truly delightful, honest performances from both JoGo and Deschanel, 500 Days Of Summer manages to transcend the rom-com cliches and cliched Hollywood crap and actually be a film that can be watched by both men and women with equal enjoyment.


Just Quickly

Romantic comedies aren’t usually my cup of tea, as long time readers of this site will attest to. I say usually, because there’s a couple (Notting Hill) here and there that aren’t too bad, but generally, if it’s soppy romance I tend to avoid it where possible – I leave watching those cinematic turds up to my wife, whose tolerance for crap seems higher than mine. 500 Days Of Summer isn’t a romantic comedy; the tag line for the film, which is incredibly accurate, states from the outset that “this isn’t a love story, it’s a story about love”, which is to say that you’d better gosh darn be prepared for a film which isn’t all mushy and soppy. Lead cast members Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschenel hold this film together – he’s a greeting card writer dreaming of becoming an architect, while she’s the bosses assistant and a free spirited girl who doesn’t want to be tied down, so when they become friends, and that friendship progresses to the point at which he’s starting to think there’s more to it all, she pulls the plug (this isn’t a spoiler – it happens pretty much in the first three minutes!) and sends him into a tailspin. From there, the film flits back and forth between days (established by a numerical title card before each scene) of their relationship, telling their story in a non-linear fashion.

The Result

If you were to try summing up 500 Days Of Summer in a single word, that word would be “quirky”. The script, from Scott Neustedter and Michael Weber, is filled with wonderful dialogues and humorous observational comedy, as well as the biting satire which is male/female relationship. Marc Webb directs this film with a sense of reassuring whimsy, the solid, even-handed approach to the source material which prevents it descending into farce – for some reason I kept thinking of Little Miss Sunshine whilst watching this film, as if the magical qualities of that film were somehow resurfacing here. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is excellent as the love-struck dude, and Zoey Deschanel is perfectly unattainable as the.. er, unattainable Summer; they have a genuine chemistry on-screen that’s hard to fake. 500 Days Of Summer is a thoroughly engaging, perfectly endearing, sublimely romantic (kinda) film for which there’s no set demographic for: both young and older viewers will find plenty to appreciate in this one. Thoroughly recommended.

What Others Are Saying about 500 Days Of Summer:

Aiden at Cut The Crap loved it: “The best romantic comedy I’ve seen since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”

Stevee at Cinematic Paradox summed it up brilliantly: “This is not a love story. It’s a story about love.”

My buddy Will over at Silver Emulsion didn’t enjoy it as much as I did: “Overall, it’s a moderately enjoyable movie that is at times boring, at other times clichéd, and at other times still, clever. I liked it, but you’d never catch me watching it a second time.”

Normally detesting these kinds of bios, Rodney’s keen love of film more often outclasses his ability to write convincingly about them.

Never blessed with a body worthy of a porn star, nor being the heir to a wealthy industrialists fortune, nor suffering the tragedy of having his parents murdered outside a Gotham theater, Rodney is, contrary to popular opinion, neither Ron Jeremy, JD Rockefeller, or Batman.

As a serious appreciator of film since 1996, Rodney’s love affair with the medium has continued with his online blog, Fernby Films, a facility allowing him to communicate with fellow cineasts in their mutual love of all things movie.

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  1. A refreshing romantic comedy! Nice review Rodney.
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      Dan — August 29, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  2. Little bit too Twee for me this one… I am against all things hipster though
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      Custard — August 29, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  3. Thanks Dan! Yeah, this one was a real breath of fresh air! Loved it!

      Rodney — August 29, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  4. Really? I guess it depends on your tolerance for Zooey Deschanel, but I normally find her okay…. if a little bit hippy at times.

      Rodney — August 29, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  5. I enjoyed this but was fairly underwhelmed when I saw it, after all the hype. I really didn't expect it to be so contrived, I guess is the main thing I didn't like about it.
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      Vik V. — August 30, 2012 @ 1:15 am

  6. Like i put in my review, i got kind of mad a this movie for being a middle of the road rom-com in the disguise of a quirky indie film. Still, this is the movie that introduced me to Chloë Grace Moretz, so it had some saving Graces.
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      Al K Hall — August 30, 2012 @ 5:38 am

  7. I always have time for Chloe Grace! :)

      Rodney Twelftree — August 30, 2012 @ 10:31 am

  8. You thought it was contrived? Hmm, I didn't get that when I watched it…. I actually thought it took the rom/com/dramadey genre and slapped it about the face a bit; it seemed a fresh take on an old genre staple. Was it just the story that you didn't find appealing?

      Rodney Twelftree — August 30, 2012 @ 10:32 am

  9. I didn't mind the story, but I definitely got a contrived feeling throughout the whole thing. Like Levitt breaking all the plates, the black and white clips, the dramatic voice over… eh. I still liked it, and I get why people love it, but it's not really my thing, I suppose.
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      Vik V. — August 30, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

  10. If it's not your thing, then it's not your thing! Have you seen Adventureland, Vik? The one with Kstew and Esisenberg?

      Rodney — September 2, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

  11. I like this one, mostly for Gordon-Levitt's performance. I'm not too keen on Zooey, she kind of annoys me and her character here isn't exactly sympathetic.
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      rtm — September 3, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  12. I love Adventureland. I think it's a very overlooked, funny and rewatchable movie, and one that didn't come off as contrived like 500 days did. It seemed genuine. I also like Stewart as an actress, despite the awfulness of Twilight. A lot of people seem to jump on the bandwagon hating her just because Twilight is so terrible, but in the roles that aren't Bella I actually find her quite good, Adventureland including (Welcome to the Rileys is another solid movie, I think).
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      Vik V. — September 9, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

  13. You haven't seen her "act" in Snow White & The Huntsman, obviously….. ewwww, she stinks in that. But I agree, given the right script and role, Stewart has the potential to be quite good…..

      Rodney — September 9, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

  14. Yeah, haven't seen it yet. Opinions are mixed, so I might check it out at some point. Charlize Theron seems to be awesome in it, though, based on the trailer.
    My recent post Déjà Vu (2012) – Short Film

      Vik V. — September 10, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  15. Well….. "awesome" is a pretty subjective term to describe Theron in SW&TH….. I'd use the term "desperate" in its place.

      Rodney — September 10, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

  16. You're right about Descahenl in this, Ruth, she's certainly not the goody-goody we all like to think of her as. Her character is, bluntly, a bit of a bitch at times, although I guess in saying that it's also not saying she's a cookie-cutter character in a genre film with limited development…. So you could look at that as a positive, perhaps?

      Rodney — September 10, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

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