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(500) Days of Summer

Directed by Marc Webb

> > Feb 2010

(500) Days of Summer - Directed by Marc Webb
By Cam LindsayIf you look back at all of your failed relationships, at least one of them would look an awful lot like Tom's in (500) Days of Summer. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a greeting-card writer, with aspirations of becoming an architect. He meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel), the girl of his dreams, and officially falls in love. But it doesn't begin like that. In fact, the movie starts with the ending, moves back and forth between days like an arbitrary flip book and before anything, instructs us that it "is not a love story." Whereas we're used to most romantic movies guiding us along with a series of customary events, (500) Days of Summer leaves us as unsure about Tom's future with Summer as Tom himself. And it's not difficult to understand why, as Deschanel plays the stone-faced, non-committal beauty with an enchanting, mystifying quality. Gordon-Levitt, who has finally been recognized with a Golden Globe nod, was born to play this anti-rom-com anti-hero. But it's first-time director Webb who shines brightest. His ingenious approach to storytelling is bound to inspire future knock-offs, while he shows his influences by inserting some panache with homages to The Seventh Seal and La Dolce Vita, along with a musical number set to Hall & Oates's "You Make My Dreams" that has a just-laid Tom dancing in the park with strangers (and an animated bluebird). Sure, we may not have many of those moments in our romantic escapades, but (500) Days of Summer is both original and relatable without ever losing sight of its purpose: to depict the elation and misery that come with finding what you think is true love. In the commentary, writers Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter reveal that the story was based on their real-life dating experiences. They go on to explain that the jumping around wasn't random ― it was in there from the beginning to show how up and down relationships can go ― and how difficult it was to pull off the narrative with the crucial split-screen party sequence. Gordon-Levitt confirms that "The Best Day Ever" musical sequence was actually one of the best days ever. (On a side note, they also share tasty nuggets that Daryl Hall and John Oates were almost in the movie, and that the family in the IKEA was "in fact Chinese.") Deleted scenes show more testimonials and some extended scenes, but best of all presents "The Worst Morning Ever," a contrary look at the musical bit, complete with CGI bird shit. A must see.
(Fox Searchlight)
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