(500) Days of Summer
July 17, 2009
On the Big Board
||I really hope this is the movie that makes Joseph Gordon-Levitt a superstar. I hope to see a lot more of him in the future. I loved the non-linear timeline as well as the soundtrack.
||Charming and engrossing. Zooey Deschanel is always terrific, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt was distractingly mannered.
||Deschanel is adorable. The park outburst scene is great. The final scene went in the right direction but just a step too contrived.
||The ultra-rare poignant and mature romantic comedy.
(500) Days of Summer was screened at the Sundance Film Festival 09, and the buzz is very strong.
The film is told from the perspective of Tom (Joseph Gorden-Levitt), a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic. He falls for the new temporary office mate Summer (Zooey Deschannel), who doesn't believe true love exists. Sounds like another run of the mill "opposites-attract" romantic comedy until you notice that the title lists 500 days, suggesting that maybe they don’t live happily ever after. The film zaps back and fourth through various periods over the 500 days when they were together, showing the highs and lows of the relationship.
Deschanel and Gorden-Levitt have actually worked together before on Manic. Levitt has faded from the mainstream somewhat, turning up in great independent films such as Brick and Stop-Loss, and hasn’t played a strong romantic lead since 10 Things I Hate About You. Deschanel is on the other end of the spectrum, having recently had box office hits with Yes Man and, despite the awfulness, people did actually turn The Happening into a profit.
Directed by Mark Webb, this is his feature film debut, previously a music video director working with the likes of My Chemical Romance and Maroon 5. His past experience has come in handy directing the song and dance numbers in the film. Yes, you read that right. Think small bursts of Across the Universe, since with Gorden-Levitt’s character Tom being a fan of pop music he occasionally breaks out into song. In fact Webb’s video for Maroon 5’s Goodnight, Goodnight plays almost like a little precursor to the film itself. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, both are also first timers.
The strong reception at Sundance has this hyped as building a new foundation for future wannabe romantic comedies to rip off. New York Magazine ranked it as one of the 15 best films at Sundance, while USA Today described it as a “must see movie of the festival,” and that it even received a standing ovation.
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures, they managed to hit gold with Juno and more recently Slumdog Millionaire. If they can prove just how diverse this is from every other film Matthew McConaughey has starred in during the last eight years, then this could be their next $100 million earner, as well as the next romantic comedy talked up by the next generation. (Shalimar Sahota/BOP)