January 12, 2010

Review: 500 Days of Summer

So obviously reviews on this website are coming out on a delay: that is, long after the movies are out and other reviews are done. If you don't like it, too bad. I think my opinion is interesting and I'm only going to watch these movies at the pace I want to. Hell, I'm not making money off of this, so it's not like it matters when you read this.

That being said, I think that 500 Days of Summer was definitely among the best movies of 2009. (The fact that it's 2010 right now should give you an indication of my delay) It is thoroughly well constructed and well produced movie whose plot goes exactly where it needs to and ends up with a satisfying (though not typical Hollywood) ending. The dialogue is witty, the overall movie is really funny, and the pacing sets up everything well. Even the nonlinear presentation, while seemingly confusing at first, serves to draw viewers in well without leaving them completely in the dark. There is little I can say about what is wrong with 500 Days of Summer.

The plot, of course, is about Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), an aspiring architect turned greeting card maker who meets a girl, Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) at his work one day and ends up falling in love. The rest of the movie plays out in a back and forth fashion, detailing their relationship. Honestly, most of you have watched this movie by now, and if you haven't, then I'm not going to spoil it for you.

The actors play their roles almost perfectly: the dialogue and scenarios play out almost exactly like what you would expect in real life. Tom and Summer's ups and downs make it easy to see the contrasts in the different stages of the relationship, and the supporting cast helps to make this movie more than one dimensional.

In some ways, though, 500 Days of Summer is a typical romantic comedy, with the fights, quirky scenes, and moments you would expect. What saves it, though, is the ending: it is unlike the standard romantic comedy, and yet is not some kind of disappointment. It ultimately makes you feel like the characters have gone somewhere in terms of personality and development, and not just static figures in a fictional world. The ending, of course, is then clearly the saving grace of this film.

I would wholeheartedly recommend watching this movie. Chances are, it's out on DVD by now, so please go buy it. Of course, if you can find it playing in a theater you should see it there too, or if you rent the movie or get it at the library or whatever. But regardless, the bottom line is this: if you haven't seen this movie, you must see it as soon as you can. It is simply that good.

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