(500) Days Of Summer (2009)

Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Zooey DeschanelJoseph Gordon-Levitt, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Grace Moretz

Plot: An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn't believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her.

Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance
Awards: Nom. for 2 Golden Globes - Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), Lead Actor.
Runtime: 95min
Rating: PG for sexual material and language.



Marc Webb’s feature-length debut is an assured one. (500) Days Of Summer endears to our hearts unlike probably any other romantic-comedy of the year. In fact, this film is one of the most original offerings of its kind in recent years. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tom) and Zooey Deschanel (Summer) in the two leading roles, Webb’s film pushes itself away from standard, derivative fare and brings it to a new level. Here, the film becomes a gentle mockery of the rom-com genre, as if suggesting that is rigid, one-answer-fits-all formula is a sad case of money-suckers in Hollywood misunderstanding increasingly picky (and more informed) consumers.

(500) Days Of Summer employs a non-linear narrative which is segmented into many flashbacks and forwards. The ‘(500)’ in the film’s title represents the five hundred days in which the romantic relationship between Tom and Summer lasted. Before the start of each segment operating on a different timeline, Webb uses this ‘bracketed number’ as a transitional tool to indicate the different stages of their relationship. With this, he manages to set off a whirlwind narrative style without leaving viewers dazed and confused. And it is this style that makes the film such a refreshing watch.

The humor is kept on an even keel; it is never over-the-top for the sake of inducing (forced) laughter. This is quite effective in developing the characters into people we actually do care about, making us active participants as we draw ourselves closer to their private lives. Tom is a guy who believes in finding ‘the one’ and in Summer he sees that. Summer, on the other hand, takes life as it goes, refusing to commit or actively pursue love. The chemistry between the two leads is excellent and they give good, natural performances throughout. There is a spark about them which makes the film more engaging than your average rom-com.

Creativity is also employed in several ways, most notably in a special double split-screen sequence which on one side shows reality as it is and the other, expectations on how things will turn out. Once again, Webb shows his ability in giving something extra to his viewers. (500) Days Of Summer has been critically well-received and is a hit with audiences. I am grateful for that. Sometimes it takes a film like this to help us differentiate the good stuff from the mediocre. As a genre film, (500) Days Of Summer goes beyond genre and…succeeds. Money-suckers, take note. The rest, enjoy.


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