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(500) Days of Summer is an enchanting and original romantic comedy

Wondering what the title of the movie means since obviously there aren't 500 days in summer? In this offbeat romantic comedy, Summer refers not to the season but to Summer (Zooey Deschanel), the smart, independent woman who is the product of divorce and doesn't believe in love. Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the exact opposite of Summer. He truly believes that he is going to meet his soulmate and that they will live happily ever after. But this story is an anti-fairytale and the narrator tells us up front that this is not a love story. The movie jumps back and forth in the 500 days of the relationship between Summer and Tom and showcases a clever structure which tells the story by events rather than in a linear, chronological way.


(500) Days of Summer movie poster

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual material and language

Run time: 95 minutes

Official website: (500) Days of Summer


Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tom), Zooey Deschanel (Summer), Geoffrey Arend (McKenzie), Chloë Grace Moretz (Rachel), Matthew Gray Gubler (Paul), Clark Gregg (Vance), Rachel Boston (Alison) and Minka Kelly (Girl at Interview)


Directed by Marc Webb; written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber; director of photography, Eric Steelberg; edited by Alan Edward Bell; music by Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen; production designer, Laura Fox; produced by Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters and Mason Novick; released by Fox Searchlight Pictures

MOVIE REVIEWS:


"The film has all the things a romantic comedy should have: the handsome guy, the pretty girl, the quirky best friends and an interesting soundtrack. But this movie is so much more. It has a clever split screen segment (half of the screen is "reality" with the other half as "expectation"), bad drunken karaoke, voice overs by an omniscient narrator that makes us feel like we are watching an Animal Planet documentary, black and white scenes, fabulous vintage-y clothing on Deschanel, a lively musical number with an animated bluebird reminiscent of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, the fractured calendar highlighted by the seasonal color changes on drawings depending on the day/season in the relationship, the Los Angeles architecture and Tom's masculine apartment with the über-hip blackboard wall. Don't miss the fantastic soundtrack featuring songs by Regina Spektor, The Smiths, Carla Bruni and She & Him (Zooey Deschanel is in this band with M. Ward). Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are terrific with believable, palpable chemistry. This film is witty, well-acted, quirky and delightful and, while it doesn't say anything new about the relationship between men and women, it is a movie worth watching." Reel Movie Thoughts


"While Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel churn out some edgy and excellent indie-centric chemistry, most of the credit here should be given to director Marc Webb for breathing some fresh life into "just another funny relationship flick." Webb, with help from writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, uses his music video background to give the film some color, some pop and some great memorable moments -- like when Tom, post first-time sex with Summer, breaks out into a dance number set to Hall and Oates' You Make My Dreams Come True, or when Webb wisely uses a split-screen to visualize every man's best-case-scenario and worst nightmare together, side-by-side. 500 Days of Summer does not, in any way, re-invent the rom-com wheel; it's not the prettiest, the sexiest or the most hot-to-trot -- but she's a looker and a feeler and way too easy to fall in love with if you give her a little room to work that magic. And maybe that's a good thing." Cinematical


"Much like Annie Hall did for a previous generation, (500) Days of Summer may be the movie that best captures a contemporary romantic sensibility. What sets (500) Days of Summer apart from its derivative rom-com brethren is its subtle mocking of convention and its charmingly heartfelt story presented in a way that's both breezy and innovative. With singular creative touches, first-time director Marc Webb invigorates what is essentially a boy-meets-girl story. Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel are an appealing and believable couple with palpable chemistry. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is terrific as Tom. Endearing, fresh and funny, (500) Days of Summer also offers insights about fate, attraction, infatuation, heartbreak and the perseverance of hope." USA Today


"(500) Days of Summer is something seldom seen: an original romantic comedy. The romantic comedy deftly navigates the neural tightropes of a passionate love affair in a beautiful and original way.  It bristles with energy, emotional and intellectual, as it flits about the dizzying highs and weeping-karaoke lows of a passionate entanglement. The film's many virtues include an unusual storytelling conceit, a sharp sense of music, a lover's-eye view of Los Angeles and on-the-money performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. The supporting cast performs admirably, but this is the Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel Show. Their chemistry, whether burning or cooling, is palpable." LA Times


"In the enchantingly original and romantic (500) Days of Summer, Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is a girl -- capricious, alluring, and not entirely knowable -- and Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the greeting-card writer who convinces himself that she's ''better than the girl of my dreams.'' (500) Days is like a mood ring cued to the ups, downs, and confusions of modern love. Deschanel makes the lovely, sensuous Summer just precocious enough to know what she wants without coming out and saying it, and Gordon-Levitt, with his junior Springsteenian chin jut,
lets you read every glimmer of hope, pain, lust, and befuddlement beneath his nervy facade. It's a feat of star acting, and it helps make (500) Days not just bitter or sweet but everything in between." Entertainment Weekly


"Boy meets girl, boy loses girl. It's been done to emo death. That's why the sublimely smart-sexy-joyful-sad (500) Days of Summer hits you like a blast of pure romantic oxygen. It turns the genre on its empty head and sees relationships for what they are -- a bruising business. Someone's heart always gets ripped out. Marc Webb is a debuting feature director with style to burn. With a seriously funny and touching script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, the movie spins a variation on Memento, shuffling through Tom's 500 days with Summer in a random order that lets us see the fun times and the fault lines. A gimmick? Maybe. But Deschanel and Gordon- Levitt are star-crossed lovers to die for. They play it for real, with a grasp of subtlety and feeling that goes beyond the call of breezy duty. This knockout of a movie expertly blends bliss (a dance number complete with an animated blue jay after Tom spends his first night in bed with Summer) and the blues (a split-screen segment in which Tom's expectation of winning back Summer clashes with reality). The ending is tidy and way too cute, but (500) Days is otherwise a different kind of love story: an honest one that takes a piece out of you." Rolling Stone


"We never remember in chronological order, especially when we're going back over a failed romance. We start near the end, and then hop around between the times that were good and the times that left pain. People always say "start at the beginning," but we didn't know at the time it was the beginning. "500 Days of Summer" is a movie that works that way. In romance, we believe what we want to believe. That's the reason "500 Days of Summer" is so appealing. Here is a rare movie that begins by telling us how it will end and is about how the hero has no idea why." Roger Ebert




"Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries to win girl back: It's a tale you've heard a million times before. But it's told in such a relatable, inventive way in "500 Days of Summer," it almost feels like the first time." Associated Press


"Boy gets girl and boy loses girl in convoluted, sometimes cloying but ultimately winning fashion in "500 Days of Summer." Stylish feature debut by longtime music video director Marc Webb goes out of its way to take an unconventional approach to telling one of the oldest stories in the book, only to prevail by embracing the fact that the fundamental things apply -- a cute leading couple, a rooting interest in their welfare and a genuine feeling for heartbreak and the belief that life must go on. This looks like a real commercial winner with young audiences. Webb adroitly captures the moods of love's different stages and celebrates Tom's finally scoring with Summer in a boisterous, bring-the-house-down musical production number in a central L.A. park. The leads provide everything a romantic comedy needs in terms of flair and likability. Craggier and less cookie-cutter than the young pretty boys normally seen in such fare, Gordon-Levitt expressively alternates between enthusiasm and forlorn disappointment in the manner Jack Lemmon could, and it makes you really root for the guy. After some years as a favorite enthusiasm of indie fanboys, Deschanel seems to be truly coming into her own now, and she enchantingly conveys Summer's allure, elusiveness and quicksilver nature. The film falls far short, however, in the comic-relief supporting roles, an area in which the genre usually affords riches. Tom's manic workmate McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) and longtime best friend Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler) are supposed to provide sounding boards and morale boosts, but they are both deeply unfunny sub-sitcom caricatures who throw the film tonally off-base whenever they're around. Tom's smarty pants, unnaturally mature teenage sister exemplifies the film's unappealing strain of overweening cleverness. Shot by Eric Steelberg ("Juno"), "500 Days" is very sharp visually and exhibits loads of energy without hyperventilating. Tom's enduring architectural interests are wonderfully exploited through the underutilized downtown locations -- Los Angeles Plaza plays a key role, and at one point Tom gives Summer an expert's tour of choice old buildings. The color coordination of the locations, Laura Fox's outstanding production design and Hope Hanafin's costumes enrich the film's lustrous look. The pic overflows with music, a bit obtrusively at times, but excerpts are smartly chosen. Boy gets girl and boy loses girl in convoluted, sometimes cloying but ultimately winning fashion in 500 Days of Summer." Variety


SOUNDTRACK REVIEWS:


"At Sundance every year, there are at least a few films released with killer soundtracks. 500 Days of Summer is one of this year's musically talked about films." Slash Film


"Webb's use of music, principally pop tunes, is anything but an afterthought, as the carefully chosen songs enhance the atmospheres of scenes and chart the romance's line graph. He helps himself considerably by casting two young actors with the intelligence and versatility to convey each tiny segment of their separate arcs." NY Times


" The downtown L.A. production number he [Tom] and a bunch of strangers burst into after his first night with Summer _ to Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams Come True," of all songs _ is infectious and inspired. Later, at a dark point, the Smiths' "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" captures his emotions just as precisely." Associated Press


"Hats off to writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, director Marc Webb, as well as everyone at Fox Searchlight and Sire Records responsible for putting together this extremely solid soundtrack." (500) Days of Summer Fan Blog


"500 Days of Summer may be a postmodern take on the classic boy-meets-girl tale. But, essentially, it's a rock 'n' roll romance in the vein of High Fidelity. Music is everywhere in the quirky love story . . . .  Tom, a big music buff who writes sappy greeting cards for a living, is intrigued by his new co-worker Summer after first laying eyes on her, but when he discovers their mutual adoration for The Smiths one day in the office elevator, he's smitten. And music further draws the two together: Tom gets giddy upon discovering that she quoted Scottish indie rockers Belle & Sebastian on her yearbook page. He swoons when, at an office karaoke party, she pulls off an impromptu performance of Nancy Sinatra's "Sugar Town." (Deschanel, who collaborates with M. Ward in the band She & Him, picked the song herself.) When the two start dating, Tom's so over the moon that he even busts out a whimsical, High School Musical-esque dance routine to Hall & Oates' 80s hit "You Make My Dreams" on his way to work. But their relationship isn't just sugary sweet pop songs--it has its share of downer jams as well. Tom's beyond perplexed when he finds out that Ringo is Summer's favorite Beatle and they end up bickering about it. After a fight, Patrick Swayze's 1987 hit "She's Like the Wind" encapsulates Tom's agony and heartbreak. At a low point in their relationship, he even gets drunk and gives a heart-wrenching (not to mention off-key) karaoke rendition of The Clash's "Train in Vain (Stand By Me)." Teen Vogue


"(500) Days Of Summer is above all an interesting and entertaining soundtrack album. Whether you see the movie or not, there is alot of good music to be had here." BC: Blog Critics


Source for movie poster: CinemaBlend


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