Friday, January 15, 2010

dvd review: (500) Days of Summer

On my quest to see at least the five films nominated for Best Musical or Comedy movie and Best Drama before the Golden Globes air Sunday night, one of the films I most looked forward to seeing was (500) Days of Summer, even though I didn't understand the title. (Summer is the name of the main female character.)

(500) Days of Summer is allegedly a quirky romantic comedy. It's actually the tale of a sad man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls in love with Summer (Zooey Deschanel) even though she tells him she's not into relationships. Then, of course, he gets mad at her for not wanting to be in a relationship and proceeds to mope. The film is slightly bearable because it's not told in chronological order. The narrative bounces between the happy days (double digits days of summer) to the miserable (far too many). 

It's clear I was not a fan of this film. I wanted to like it. I laughed a few times, but I never identified with any of the characters. Summer is presented as this magical being who has never paid full price for anything, even an apartment because everyone is so wowed by her. I didn't see it (no disrespect to Ms. Deschanel, who is lovely, but not so lovely to be the most perfect, idealized woman ever). She has no story in this film. She's new in town, and she has no friends of family, but she also has no depth. The entire film is the self-absorbed tale of Tom (Gordon-Levitt), but it comes off as an incredibly personal story that does not translate into the shared coming of age story and never has the passion to make it an accessible love story. It struck me as the story you write during month two of your broken heart that you later make fun of and ask your friends, "why didn't you tell me how pathetic and desperate I sounded?," and they remind you that they did just that, but you wouldn't listen. Tom has two friends, one is Matthew Gray Gubler (Dr. Reid on Criminal Minds, one of my favorite shows) who plays the exact same character here. 

I don't even think I could recommend seeing this movie, and I know many people loved it. Seriously, was this year at the movies so devoid of musical and comedy that this film is one of the five best? If you want a quirky love story, see Before Sunrise and Before Sunset

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5 stars) - it's not very good
Running time: 95 minutes
Release date: it's on dvd now
Source: Netflix

As an Amazon Associate, I will receive a small commission if you purchase this dvd through the above link. This disclaimer is rather theoretical, as so far I've made $0, but I'm an optimist. Thanks!


  1. If you've ever fallen for someone who has told you they don't want a relationship, then this movie will leave you in tears. You want to be the one, as was the guy who commented on her book in the coffee house, that changes their mind. You imagine that your love for them is so strong, and so different, that they'll come around and want to commit to you. And then, when it ends because they won't, and then you find out that soon after this non-relationship person leaves you that they went and attached themselves to someone, the self-loathing and worth-questioning is almost too much to bear.

    I guess it all depends on how your heart has broken in the past. I loved the movie.


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