Friday, 8 October 2010

(500) Days of Summer- A cute and quirky spin on the traditional love story.

The title is fitting, it was indeed 500 days of Summer, I at first thought the fool that I am, that it was referring to the 500 days of summer the season, but alas on second thoughts there is only 365 days of the whole year...soo this is not possible.

Alas no, my dear readers it's referring to the 500 days with which he spends with the aptly named girl Summer. Further pun in store for you, which I won't say yet, as it ruin it for you.

The film first starts off with this is a "a girl meets boy" story, by a narrator with an overly familar voice- anyone know were he's from? Anyway, the film tells us that although it is a "girl meets boy" story it does not take the conventional path most romances do.

The story revovles around the two main characters, Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel and Tom, Joseph Gordon Levitt. Both emit a quirky quality to the film, Zooey with her natural good looks and tinkling voice, and Joseph with his his irrestible shy charm viewers may remember from the teen hit 10 things I hate about you, albeit now he's now all grown up. All I can say I was admiring his great acting, who am I kidding, his great looks throughout the film swoon.

Anyway, their gender roles are reversed as it's Summer whos the commitment phobe, and Tom who believes in true love and soulmates (this just makes us adore him more). So we watch with pain, as Summer states she only wants "something casual", refusing him even to name Levitt her boyfriend a few months down the line. I felt like screaming, well if you won't Summer I bloody will!

Anyway, that's kooky Summer for you- can't commit, which we found later in the film is because her parents divorced when she was young.

Reflecting, the film mostly is an romance, delivering the mass audiences what they expect, a sweet, cutesy, if quirky romance. The kind of romance you only see in films.

The film tries very hard  not to be the run of the mill blockbuster romance, with it's kooky take on life- for example the couple shouting penis loud in a park- and the narrative techniques of the film add to this effect. From the start there is a third person narrative, overseeing the action which makes it feel almost less realistic, more that we as the audience are observing the human relationship from afar and it's pros and cons.

The funny cartoons, of Summer and Tom are an artistic embellishment to the film, they add to the kooky nature of the film and overall the humour. They also help the audience detach itself from the traditonal "girl meets boy" story, however they, like the spilt narrative, peter out once the story is in full swing. As at first, the narrative jumps back and forth from when he (Tom) was happy with Summer, and then onto the darker despairs of their relationship. This is another attempt for the film trying to escape from the conventional love story by not conforming to linear narrative of the bam meets girl- bam- has relationship bam- has argument bam- breaks up with girl/resolves issue.

However, towards the end there is not as much twoing and froing, as just as the story is reaching it's climax- the possiblity of Tom winning back the love of his life, emphasis on possiblity, the film reverts back to the conventional structure of a love story. This emerses the viewer into the story, right at it's pinnacle.

 Unfortunately however, he does not manage to win back his love, finding out that the commitment phobe is now a fully fledged wife to someone else. Oooh harsh, the audience can identify with the unfairness of the situation. Whilst when with him, Summer would not even call Tom her boyfriend she has now peformed the ultimate commitment; of marriage.

The viewers always knew, due to the non linear narrative of the film, that they would break up. But I always thought they would get back together however, it was not to be. What follows is his despair, him quitting his job (at a cards writing company, something I think would actually be quite fun!), but then picking himself up, smartening up his act and fulfilling his dream career of being an architect.. phew!

So really it wasn't all bad, he lost Summer the supposed love of his life but is on his way for career success. Just as he is going to his interview for the dream job, the annoying narrator kicks in again, and he mets a beautiful girl.

You never guess what her name's Autumn.

Cue pictures of leaves and trees. Told you I would save the cheesy pun till last, the end of Summer and now a new beginnging: Autumn.

A Good (and clever) Watch

Overall looking back I thought this film was a clever take on the boy- meets- girl tale, similar to indie flicks like Juno. However, the only thing I did find was that I couldn't help but be annoyed with the perfectly pretty Summer, how dare she say she only wanted something "casual" then spend every waking moment with him, seeming suprised when Tom calls them a couple. Jeez. And then the unspeakable moment at the end, when she ditches lovely Tom for some blonde geezer we don't even see get to see the face of! She attempts to make friends at the end, all the while seemingly flirting and tossing her sleek locks...god damn it. Poor boy, no wonder he was confused.
Also, did kinda cringe at the cheesy pun at the end, a bit much don't ya think? Viewers never know if Tom will finally find his true soulmate and be happy in love:; if only they just added a few family/marriage photos at the credits I would have been duly satisifed.

This would have given hope to viewers that true love does exist, but then again wouldn't this only be conforming to the traditonal love story? And, boy this film sure doesn't want that....

Rating- 4/5

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