Monday, 4 April 2011

500 Days of Summer


500 days of summer is, essentially, your average Rom Com; though, the narrator does say at the beginning of the film that it is a story about boy meets girl, but it is not a love story! The boy (Tom; Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets the girl (Summer; Zooey Deschanel), in the office of the greeting card company that they both work for; Day 1. The days then jump backwards and forwards between 1 and 500 (although the film doesn’t actually start on day 1), so that we jump between the developing relationship of Tom and Summer, and then Tom pining/complaining to his friends, or getting relationship advice from his younger sister! Ultimately (Spoiler!) they split up; Summer meets someone else and very quickly gets married to him. On day 500, Tom meets someone else just before a job interview.

I enjoyed the film; there are far worse ways to pass 90 minutes, but it is just a Rom Com. Even if you were a connoisseur of Rom Coms (which I’m most definitely not), I’m not sure what would make this stand out from the crowd. I’m now desperately trying to think of a Rom Com that would stand out from the crowd! Does Happy Gilmore count? Four Weddings and a Funeral? There’s Something about Mary?

There are some nice touches; the fact that the plot does jump around (in a way more reminiscent of Sliding Doors than Pulp Fiction), works well and stops the story from becoming too predictable. I did particularly like the scene after they have first slept together: Tom has that great morning after, everything-is-wonderful-with-the-world feeling, he looks at his reflection in a car window to fix his hair, and his reflection is that of Han Solo! The narration at the beginning of the film gave it an almost Amélie feel; and I also liked the way that split screen was used: to show Tom and Summer growing up for example. Also at one point Summer invites Tom to a party and the split screen is used to show Tom’s hopeful expectation of events and crushing reality at the same time.

In this way Director Marc Webb (soon to be of The Amazing Spiderman fame), is quite inventive but doesn’t do anything amazing; but I suppose Rom Coms aren’t the arena to be revolutionary. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are both good as the main characters, nothing fantastic, but both are believable enough and never appear cringe-worthy (certainly no Andie MacDowell from Four Weddings). As I said, an inoffensive way to spend 90 minutes, with some novel-ish ways of telling the story; but then Rom Coms are not my thing.