500 Days of Summer
“Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn’t.” Marc Webb’s 500 Days of Summer is refreshing because as its tag-line suggests, it tells the truth about love. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Simple. And that’s fine.
Zooey Deschanel is at the peak of her quirkiness in this tale of unrequited love. It’s no wonder why she is such a hero in the indie film culture. Set in LA, Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) an ambassador for romance and a greeting card copy-writer with dreams of being an architect, thinks he has found his soul-mate in the love cynic, Summer Finn. Despite her plain and average looks it is love at first sight for Tom when Summer joins the company as admin assistant. They have everything and nothing in common. He is a hopeless romantic and she just has no hope. Beginning with a secret kiss in a cupboard at work, the film cuts to random points in their one year relationship.
The way the film is structured plays a massive part in why it’s so good. It’s set up so that it’s like we’re watching tiny clips of someone’s diary across 500 days. Deschanel maintains the elusiveness to her character consistently and we realise that we’re seeing her through the helpless and lovesick Tom’s eyes. We experience his frustration because of his deep infatuation with her. Webb uses a number of visual effects for example in one scene towards the end of their relationship where a split screen shows things through Tom’s eyes and how he wants things to be between the two, alongside what is actually going on. There are also a number of images which are shown repeatedly allowing a different interpretation each time.
Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel are flawless in their roles as a damaged oddball girl and a young man who swears by love. The dry voice over introduces the the film by saying “This is not a love story”, and it is as he says. It’s not a love story, instead it’s a story about love, and sometimes, love doesn’t happen.