(Movie Review) 500 Days of Summer

This is an old movie review I wrote for a magazine back in 2009. I was selected from their pool of readers for a free screening of the movie (500) Days of Summer (before it was due to release in cinema), along about twenty others and we were asked to write our own reviews. The best entry would be posted on the magazine’s website. My entry was not chosen, but excerpts of it was displayed below the winning entry.

(500) Days of Summer —– A movie review by Cindy Tanudjaja, originally written on 3/10/2009

M, 1hr 35min

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel

This is a classic romantic comedy storyline: boy meets girl, they fall in love, overcome their differences, and get married. For decades, there is only one result for love: happy ending and there is only one choice for viewers: to believe that love does conquer all. So far, this one-sided portrayal of a love story has proved successful. Ticket sales are high and audiences seem satisfied.

But that era may soon pass. There is a new air circulating around Hollywood. An air of change in the form of movie (500) Days of Summer. Directed by Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer is Webb’s debut into mainstream cinema. In here, the usual boy-meets-girl formula is challenged and twisted in every way that the result is a bittersweet comedy about the other side of love – unrequited love.

Gordon-Levitt plays Tom Hansen, a Los Angeles greeting card writer, who grew up believing in true love and that happiness comes from being with ‘the one’. The day he sets his eyes on the beautiful Summer Finn (Deschanel in a brilliant performance), is the day he falls madly in love. There is only one problem: Summer is a self-reliant, free-spirited girl, who doesn’t share the same believe.

Their love story begins through shared loves of British bands, such as The Smiths. The frolicsome relationship is filled with trips to the music store, walking hand-in-hand around Ikea, and a picnic at Tom’s favourite spot, a park-like setting facing the stunning views of 1930s style buildings in downtown Los Angeles. For Tom, it is a relationship he’s been waiting for all his life. Alternatively for Summer, they are just two good friends hanging out, having sex – no strings attached.

While Summer has made it clear she doesn’t want anything serious, Tom keeps holding on to a hope that she will, someday, change her mind. That hope is the basis of his days of misery, portrayed in the movie through scenes from random days, out of narrative order, to illustrate the painful tale.

Though the movie drags a little towards the end and the story seems to have no respect for its leading lady’s inner feelings, (500) Days of Summer is still a beautiful story to watch with your girlfriends. The dialogues are about ideas and stuffs that real people actually talk about when they are falling in love. Deschanel looks like she walks straight out of a 1950s magazine, with her full skirts and bows, and Gordon-Levitt successfully portrays a heartbroken man without being soppy.

Final rating: 4/5 


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