Eye For Film >> Movies >> (500) Days Of Summer (2008) Film Review
(500) Days Of Summer
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
If you want to be whacked around the head by whimsy then this is certainly the film for you. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Tom, an architect turned greetings card writer, while Zooey Deschanel is the titular Summer. The film charts their relationship, zipping back and forth through the chronology with the aid of title cards to orientate the audience.
One minute we're with them the day they met, the next it's a first date with a warning from Summer that true love doesn't exist, the next we've fast-forwarded to a much more painful point in their romance.
The script is smart and sharp right from the get go, but it ends up fighting with the film's structure. Because the narrative is a loose one, the subsidiary characters suffer. A young teenager - presumably Tom's sister - drifts in and out of the narrative offering sage advice, but despite being given a decent set of lines and being perfectly well acted by Chloe Moretz, could easily have been relegated to the cutting room floor. Tom also has two pals, one of whom feels surplus to requirements.
Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt are excellent in the central roles. However, director Marc Webb has let his imagination run riot to such an extent that you no sooner seem to start following the plot when a flight of fantasy takes you to another land of mimsy-whimsy which, while everso vewy vewy cute, hardly serves the story. Sometimes these tangential departures pay off - such as a segment in which a split-screen measures Tom's expectations against his reality - but at other times - such as an ill-advised black and white French film homage - it feels as though Webb is serving his own whims rather than adding something to the story for his audience.
Flawed though it is, (500) Days Of Summer is still a fair cut above the average piece of Hollywood fare both in terms of its laugh quotient and offbeat romance. It also contains the funniest unintentional laugh of Sundance 2009 - when it describes the positively elfin Deschanel as being of "average weight"... the rest of us can but dream.Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2009
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