Friday, July 24, 2009

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER (2009)

Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber

Directed by Marc Webb

Where & When: The Landmark West Los Angeles, CA July 22, 2009 4:50PM

First, let me say that I absolutely loved "(500) Days of Summer" and it is one of my favorites of the year. Now, let me tell you why. . .  The film is about a boy, Tom (Cutie Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who works at a greeting card company but aspires to be an architect who meets a girl, Summer (Zooey Deschanel) who is the new secretary in the office. He is smitten with her after she over hears him listening to The Smiths on his Ipod and tells him they are one of her favorite bands. Since they are one of his favorite bands, he takes that as a sign that she is "the one" he could possibly connect with.

After getting to know each other better after a round of drinks and karaoke, so begins the journey of the 500 days of their relationship. We move non-linearly through various high and low points of their time together. This is not a spoiler by saying they don't make it it to day 501 which we are told at the beginning of the film but what this really is about is how Tom believes wholeheartedly in that cliche that love will conquer all but he soon finds out that unfortunately that is not true and it shatters him.

I loved how the film switched the gender roles from the typical romantic comedy whereas Tom is the one who wants to settle down and who believes in true love while Summer has no real belief in the ideal of love but does believe in just enjoying their moment together in a non-committed way. He wants more from her but she in incapable of it.

What "Annie Hall" was to New York, I think this film is to Los Angeles or more specifically, downtown L.A. This film highlights many wonderful areas in the city as well as historic structures like the Broadway Bar, The Bradbury Building and the Fine Arts Building. Music also plays an important part of this film as an eclectic group of artists like Regina Spektor, Hall & Oates, Carla Bruni and of course The Smiths help set the many moods and is a great soundtrack. We are even treated to a brief dance number that is not out of place and perfectly let's us know how Tom is feeling.

I have never been a big admirer of the talents of Ms Deschanel's but I liked her performance in this film. I can't say she has found a new fan in me but I will admit she is not as bad as I once thought. Now, I am a fan of Mr. Gordon-Levitt. He always has made interesting film choices and after great performances in "Brick", "Mysterious Skin" and "The Lookout" which unfortunately did not find a large audience but after this film (and I guess "GI Joe"), I hope he will now have an opportunity to showcase his talents to an even wider audience.

Marc Webb's claim to fame prior to this film was as a music video director and he used that to his advantage in the making of this by subtly using those video techniques throughout to help tell the story. He is also helped by a strong script and smart casting choices. "(500) Days of Summer" is a wonderfully, smart unconventional romantic comedy. I really can't say enough about this film. Do yourself a favor and go see it.