Rambling Reviewer, “(500) DAYS OF SUMMER”

Directed by Marc Webb, 2009

The two young stars in this movie will enthrall you. And the writer and director will ensnare you in their storytelling web. The 500 days here are the length of the relationship between Summer (Zooey Deschanel) and Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). But this romance story is not your typical romantic comedy. The 500 days are unveiled randomly, each calendar day a very different twist on their relationship. The movie starts with day 290 when Tom is distraught and breaking dishes at home. His two friends Paul and McKenzie stand by helplessly and call on his kid sister to come and take things in hand. On day 1 Tom is in a staff meeting when beautiful Summer comes in as the boss’s new assistant and Tom is struck with lightening. A voice-over tells all the great things about Summer while clips of her past highlight them. After Tom’s initial day of being thunderstruck, his standing with Summer looks good on day 4 when he listens to The Smith’s “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” while they are both in the elevator. She likes the group and sings a verse of the song. On day 154 Tom explains to Paul all the different things he loves about Summer. Paul’s realizes that Tom is a goner. On day 27 Tom and Summer and the office staff go to a karaoke party and Summer sings Nancy Sinatra’s “Sugar Town.”  When Tom performs “Here Comes Your Man,” by Pixies her eyes glow. McKenzie was there too, and drunk in his taxi as they are outside, blurts out that Tom likes Summer. As a sign of things foretold, an embarrassed Tom admits that he likes her, as a friend. Summer says she’d like for them to be friends, though they are close enough to kiss. And then they go their separate ways. The next calendar day they are both at adjoining copy machines for several minutes when Summer comes close to Tom and kisses him passionately and leaves. On day 284 a brief scene shows them at Ikea, Tom says, “All of our sinks are broken” as he turns the faucet on a sample sink display. Summer shows no amusement. The next scene is day 34, when Tom and Summer are in Ikea and Summer says, “The sink is broken,” as she turns the faucet on a sample unit. “That’s why we have two kitchens,” Tom says as they have fun moving over to another sample kitchen. Then they run off to a sample bedroom and sample the bed. But as they kiss and lay on the bed Summer says she is not looking for a permanent relationship. They go to his apartment at the end of the day and in the bathroom, he tells himself that nothing serious can take place between them. He is surprised to find her in his bed when he comes out. Day 35 is the happiest day of his life. At work, creative and winning ideas flow from his brain. But the next day up is 303, and there are more days yet to come in this movie and in Tom’s wheel of fortune life. He’ll reach the bottom before he can start moving up to the top. And maybe he’ll also start a new calendar.
(500) DAYS OF SUMMER was directed by Marc Webb, his first feature film. He had previously directed music videos. The screenwriters were Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Most of the story was based on Scott Neustadter’s own early relationship. Music and art references abound in the movie. Summer’s apartment has a copy of Paul Cezanne’s famous “Blue Vase,” which was an influence on Cubism.  Prominently displayed is also a bowler hat with a green apple on top of it. This resembles the famous painting “The Son of Man”, by Rene Magritte, which also plays an important role in the 1999 version of The Thomas Crown Affair. At the vinyl record store, Tom shows Summer the 1981 Ringo Starr music album “Stop and Smell the Roses.”  When Tom first enters the karaoke bar, the song being sung is “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” by Poison.  (500) Days of Summer was nominated for Golden Globes Awards for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It won for Best Screenplay, Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Christian Esquevin is a member of the Coronado Island Film Festival Board of Directors, an avid film aficionado, and the creator of the blog Silver Screen Modes which focuses on the fashions and films of classic Hollywood. He is also the author and researcher for a stunning tabletop book Adrian: Silver Screen to Custom Labelon fashion designer and icon, Gilbert Adrian, the chief fashion designer for MGM studios from 1928 to 1941.



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