in Review

All Summer Long

(500) Days of Summer

With Sean and I bored on Saturday night and a majority of folks flocking to G.I. Joe and Julie and Julia, we decided it was as good time as any to see one of the smaller indie movies currently playing, a trend that seems to be happening a lot this summer for my friends and I. Sean lobbied for the award favorite documentary The Cove but I didn’t feel like going to Lincoln Square so (500) Days of Summer at Bella Botega was the winner.

As typical as any boy meets girl story, (500) Days of Summer follows the relationship between Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a writer at a greeting card company who aspires to be an architect and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), a beautiful new secretary in the office. Shown out of sequence, we are presented with the highs and lows of their relationship over the course of 500 days.

Although a concept and title that’s a bit gimmicky, with noting particularly new to offer to the genre (500) Days has no shortage of visual style and humor, not to mention a certain alluring charm between it’s two leads that make it shine. I wasn’t sure about the whole “out of sequence” method but I grew quite comfortable with it in no time and felt it kept a certain sense of mystery throughout the film. Visually I loved some of the clever methods of portraying the unfolding relationship. In particular was when the screen would split into two sides, one labeled “Expectations” and the other “Reality” from Tom’s perspective. Throw in a couple of surreal sequences and a very memorable dance number to Hall and Oates “You Make My Dreams” and you got just enough to keep me engrossed.

I know something that definitely bugged Sean but didn’t really get to me was this film’s, how should I say “hip factor”. Almost as if the film tries too hard to be indie just for sake of being indie. Stuff like “Oh we like The Smiths look how cool and unique we are.” or all the time the pair spend going to art galleries and old movies. I could see how someone could find that unappealing or annoying but I’ll admit I like the whole “indie chic” coating, even if it feels a little less than genuine from time to time.

The film’s not perfect but just compare it most of the mainstream romantic/comedies. Tired and cliched movies like The Ugly Truth or anything else that stars a bunch of popular and attractive movie stars in completely unrealistic situations. With a movie like (500) Days of Summer you can truly feel that you’re watching a movie that had a great deal of attention and care put into the story and scenes. The cast is great, the story is sweet and simple and I’m glad I went to it, even if I had to see another trailer to The Time Traveler’s Wife.