(500) Days Of Summer (12A)



Romance (2009)
95mins US

Starring: Geoffrey Arend, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Clark Gregg, Matthew Gray Gubler, Chloe Moretz, Zooey Deschanel
Director: Marc Webb
Writer(s): Michael H Weber, Scott Neustadter
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Tom has always had a passion for architecture and is enraptured by the Big Apple with its mix of old and new. During the day, he writes platitudes in greetings cards, impressing best friends McKenzie and Paul with his ability to find the words for every occasion. Humdrum routine changes with the arrival of new girl Summer. Tom is smitten but the courtship doesn't match his old-fashioned ideals.

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LondonNet Film Review
(500) Days Of Summer

"This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know up front, this is not a love story..." begins the droll narrator of Marc Webb's quirky comedy...

500 Days Of Summer. Fox UK FilmFrom the opening frames, we're acutely aware that this romance on the sun-dappled streets of New York City has no happy ending. Love can be uplifting and inspiring, but it can also be cruel and unforgiving. Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber's polished screenplay piques our interest at the legal disclaimer in the pre-credits: "The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental... Especially you, Jenny Beckman... Bitch." If revenge is a dish best served cold, then the writers are serving up a deep-frozen, three-course meal here and inviting us to tuck in. Tart one-liners are tossed hither and thither, and Webb even conducts a glorious song-and-dance sequence through Central Park complete with an animated bluebird that recalls Amy Adams in Enchanted. But once again, as the omnipresent voiceover keeps reminding us, this is no fairytale.

Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a passion for architecture and he is enraptured by the Big Apple with its mix of old and new: skyscrapers next to churches, urban sprawl separated by the verdant tranquillity of Central Park. During the day, Tom writes platitudes in greetings cards, impressing his boss Vance (Clark Gregg) and co-workers McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) and Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler) with his ability to find the perfect phrase for every occasion. His humdrum routine changes with the arrival of Vance's new assistant, Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Tom is smitten, and within days he tells McKenzie and Paul confidently, "It's official. I'm in love with Summer". However, the courtship doesn't match up to Tom's old-fashioned ideals. He's a hopeless romantic, while Summer speaks plainly when she confesses: "There is no such thing as love. It's a fantasy." As the 500 days unfold, Tom comes to realise that while Summer might be perfect for him, he's not her 'Mr Right Now' or even her 'Mr Right Ever'.

500 Days Of Summer. Fox UK Film(500) Days Of Summer is a haunting tale of relationship woes, distinguished by strong performances from the two leads, especially Gordon-Levitt as a dreamer who emerges battered and bruised from the emotional wringer. The chronology is intentionally fractured to juxtapose contrasting episodes in the relationship. Webb conjures some interludes that simply take the breath away, like Day 408 when the narrator confides, "This time he believed his expectations would align with reality". The screen splits - Tom's expectations on the left, sobering reality on the right - and we see the disparity between the two versions, set to Regina Spektor's elegiac ballad Hero. Scriptwriters Neustadter and Weber cannot resist a cute, upbeat coda. Perhaps they aren't so bitter and twisted after all.

- Kim Hu


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