Film Highlight: (500) Days of Summer

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer
Chuck Zlotnick
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer

Seemingly similar to most factory-made rom-coms, former music-video director Marc Webb's first feature is actually far less interested in the will-they-or-won't-they and more concerned with the why-can't-they. Its lovers—Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tom and Zooey Deschanel's Summer—are perfect for each other, yet perhaps still not meant to be. He is forever in search of his soul mate, influenced by too much mid-'80s Britpop and an incorrect reading of The Graduate's finale. She insists she's looking only for a commitment-free good time, no doubt the result of a childhood spent being the object of everyone's affection. Webb, working from a screenplay by the men responsible for The Pink Panther 2, employs a storytelling gimmick to render his movie palatably unconventional. The director introduces us to Tom and Summer mid-breakup, then takes us back to the moment when they share their first glance, then back and forth and back and forth and beyond, till each glimpse is recontextualized and thus reconsidered. Very Sundance-y. But the real surprise of (500) Days of Summer isn't the presentation—this isn't exactly Steven Soderbergh or Alejandro Gonzélez Iñárritu territory here. It's more like a love story in a blender. What is unexpected is the sincerity beneath the modest conceit that, yup, love hurts.

 
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