| Two Reviews below, first by Keith Cohen and then by Jolene Mendez.
This offbeat romantic comedy was the biggest crowd-pleaser at the Sundance Film Festival. The opening scene serves as a teaser. It takes place on day 488. A handsome man and an attractive woman are sitting on a park bench holding hands with an engagement ring sparkling on her finger. The narrator, in a booming baritone voice, announces that “this is not a love story,” but rather “a story about love.”
On a split screen over the opening credits, we see home movie footage of a boy and a girl growing up from their childhood days. Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt from “3rd Rock from the Sun,” Stop-Loss” and “The Lookout”) dreams of becoming an architect. He has toiled for four years writing jingles for a greeting card company. He is also a hopeless romantic who believes that his destiny includes meeting the perfect soulmate.
Summer Bishl (Zooey Deschanel from “Yes Man” and “Elf”) becomes the new assistant to Tom’s boss. This lovely, witty and intelligent woman with big blue eyes has an immediate magnetic effect on Tom.
This movie will fool you with its rollercoaster ride through hairpin curves. Director Marc Webb in his feature film debut puts his music video background to good use with an arresting visual panache.
The screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber jumps back and forth in non-chronological order and shows highlights from the 500 days of this couple’s rocky romantic relationship. The narrator makes his presence felt with timely play-by-play observations.
Each day is denoted in parentheses before each scene unfolds. You can almost visualize a bar chart of the peaks and valleys similar to the ones used for stock analysis. The random order forces the audience to ride the emotional waves of this realistic, contemporary affair of the heart.
This movie benefits from fantastic original writing, great acting and a fabulous soundtrack. This is the definitive movie for today’s generation on the sting of Cupid’s arrow when the friendship line is crossed and sexual intercourse complicates matters.
There is almost a complete gender role reversal. Shy and insecure Tom becomes emotionally attached and wants to put a label on their involvement in each other’s lives. He takes off in flights of fancy, making something more out of their intimacy. The level-headed Summer sets the ground rules. She just wants to have a commitment-free good time and enjoy the benefits of casual companionship. She doesn’t believe in love and values her freedom and independence.
The movie has a high laugh quotient and is told from Tom’s masculine point of view.
This movie had me at hello with its unique and captivating fragmented style of presentation.
There are many signature moments, but two especially come to mind. One is a choreographed dance number after Tom has slept with Summer for the first time. Everybody he meets on his way to work is smiling. An animated bluebird even lands on his shoulder, drawing immediate comparisons to the delightful movie “Enchanted.” Another outstanding segment involves the effective use of a split screen where the clever contrast between expectations and reality are displayed at a party.
The movie flies by at a breakneck speed that seems shorter than the 95-minute running time.
Anyone who has been in love and had their heart broken will be able to identify with the trials and tribulations of this particular relationship that is put under the emotional microscope. This satisfying movie experience will have particular appeal to those in their 20s and 30s who are still getting their feet wet and trying to figure out the mating rituals of dating.
Now playing exclusively at AMC Town Center 20, Cinemark Palace and the Glenwood Arts.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"
Review Below By:
Jolene Mendez of JoReviews.com
4 out of 4 Stars
"500 Days of Summer” is a refreshing and offbeat romantic comedy about a woman (Zooey Deschanel) who doesn’t believe true love exists, and the young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for her. Tom (Gordon-Levitt) is a greeting card writer who is single searching for his soul mate to complete him. He comes to life the day he meets Summer (Deschanel). Summer does not have an immediate connection to Tom, but as Tom shows his sensitive and boyish charm she begins to find interest in him. The interest soon turns to a mutual relationship.
Not an easy love story as Summer is not a believer in love or relationships. What they have is unknown to Tom, as he questions her after she claims she is not his ‘girlfriend’. Finding it difficult to understand her reasoning for not believing in something he finds sacred makes it difficult for the pair to move forward and eventually Summer ends things. Tom does not rebound well as he goes on a sabbatical of drinking, rage and eventually quits his job. As Tom moves away from greeting card writing to pursue becoming an architect he has a chance meeting with Summer that brings the pair back together, but by this time it is too late.
A modern day tale that will be crowd pleasing. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt make “500 Days of Summer” the best romantic comedy in years. These two performers steal this summer’s box office with the entertaining and realistic look at falling in and out of love. Marc Webb directs this film brilliantly and makes us fall in love with everything from all 500 days. Adding the best music to this already appealing film makes this a homerun. “500 Days of Summer” will not just be this summer’s greatest hit, but will be one you will remember and want to see months later.