I love a film with good narration, and a good soundtrack. After extensive research (approximately 15 minutes), I wasn't able to find who narrated this film, but it sounded like it could have been the guy from Stranger than Fiction or The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - if you know, please let me know! (500) Days of Summer is another one of those touching romantic comedies (read My Life in Ruins) that makes you do some soul searching afterward. Definitely not a chick flick, but it was still cute, with an indie feel even though it was done by Fox Searchlight. 3rd Rock from the Sun failed to put Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the map, but this film definitely will, and the same is probably true of Zooey Deschanel, whose most notable role was the sister in Almost Famous. Their relationship in the film is why the Facebook's and MySpace's of the world have a "It's Complicated" field for relationship status. And they depict it to a fucking T.
Tom Hansen (Levitt) meets Summer Finn (Deschanel) at work, and it is basically love at first sight - for him, at least. He fumbles his way into her arms, and they hit it off with the caveat (from her) that it won't be anything serious. We see their relationship unfold back-and-forth, from before the turmoil, to after. An editing convention that I both admire, and despise (it's love-hate, what can I say?). It's obvious that there will be issues though, since Tom clearly wants something serious, and Summer clearly does not. They have really cute dates together, especially a long scene in IKEA (which was in-your-face product placement, let me tell ya) where the couple pretended to be going to different rooms of their fictional house. Even with all the heartache Summer caused Tom, he was able to find his way at the end - which is all right, but I'd LOVE to see a sad ending for once.
As I alluded to earlier, the editing is phenomenal, but I am not sold on cutting back-and-forth from the good, early days, to the bad, final days of their relationship. Not quite the same hate I had for a similar convention employed in Memento, but I'd rather the story be interesting on it's own. And luckily this film's story was simple, yet interesting, and the chemistry between Joseph and Zooey was spot on.
The narration was superb, even though some retards online think otherwise. The music was down-right perfect for the film, with songs from Regina Spektor, The Smiths, and Simon And Garfunkel. On top of the editing mentioned earlier, my favorite scene was a side-by-side view with simultaneous running clips of "Expectations" on one side, and "Reality" on the other - this as really bad ass, and I'm sure it'll be imitated. I'm a sucker for dresses, and they put Zooey in some stunning outfits, particularly the dress she wore in the wedding scene...my my my.
Only a couple things confused me - why Tom felt Summer was out of his league is beyond me. All the build up about how Summer gets her way due to her beauty was strange; don't get me wrong, she's a really pretty girl, but she's no "17 double takes on a city bus", as the narrator depicts. Aside from that, I have no idea why the "best friend" and younger sister were even in the film; they were supposed to be Tom's support group to deal with Summer, but they were on-screen for about 13 seconds, and those roles could have all been handled by Tom's cubicle buddy (played by Geoffrey Arend).
(500) Days of Summer is great for audiences of all ages. It's lighthearted, clever and cute. Take the old lady out to see it, and get yourself some headers on the drive home.