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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

Let me start by saying that I have no idea why the creative forces punctuated the title in the manner they did. In fact, in a charming, heartfelt, and sometimes wacky summer movie, a number of days appear on the screen, but never "500". This is a fun, romantic comedy with a serious side. First-time feature film director Marc Webb uses his music video background to great advantage, particularly with small, hard-to-detect symbolism, in his choice of music, background, and even the books that people carry or read or talk about. There were a few things I could have done without - the wise-beyond-her-years little sister, the excessive use of karaoke as filler, and the narrator telling us things we should be able to see for ourselves. Beyond that, this is a delightful way to escape the summer heat. Zooey Deschanel is the big name, and she plays her role as the pleasure-seeking, honest and self-reliant Summer in the same way she plays every role, understatedly and consistently. The film unreels, however, from the point of view of romantic lightweight Tom, played nicely by Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("3rd Rock from the Sun", "Brick"). He is believably sad, less comedic than the writers might have liked, but, overall likeable. The film is achronologically presented, the story of the 500 days of their relationship, with Summer being up front about being in the now, and Tom wanting her to be "The One". In truth, he wants her to save him from his mediocre present, and she does, though not in the way he would hope. There is a fabulous use of split screen about three-quarters of the way through the film, a few startling but well done homages, and the final line must have been questioned for a long time by the creative team, but it works. Go see this film, before it is swallowed up by the noisy giganta-flicks of August, or the Oscar seekers of September.

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