Sunday, January 26, 2014

(500) Days of Summer (2009) [PG-13] ****

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon–Levitt) believes in true love and soul mates. Having failed to find employment as an architect, he's taken a job writing greeting cards for New Hampshire Greetings, a company in Los Angeles. He's been there three or four years when he meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), a new arrival from Michigan, who's an assistant to his boss Vance (Clark Gregg).

Unfortunately Summer doesn't share Tom's philosophy. She doesn't believe true love exists and is definitely not looking for a soul mate. In fact, she doesn't want a relationship, which she makes perfectly clear to Tom. She wants to be friends... albeit with benefits... and to keep things light. Tom, of course, ignores the warning signals. He honestly believes that if his love is pure enough and intense enough, he can make Summer love him. Alas, even with a support network consisting of his preteen sister Rachel (Chloe Moretz) and his two buddies McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) and Paul (Matthew Gubler), Tom is doomed to disappointment.

The story is told in non-linear fashion, skipping forward and backward in time to show us the heights and depths of the relationship, and of Tom's emotional state. (500) Days of Summer reminds us that we have all been there at one time or another, in Tom's role as well as in Summer's. Penned by novice writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber and directed by relative newcomer Marc Webb, the dialog is pitch-perfect and both leads seem born to play their roles, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt reprising his supporting role as the love-smitten Cameron in 10 Things I Hate About You, and Zooey Deschanel extending her supporting role as the quirky, relationship-phobic Kit in Failure to Launch. This film reminds me of Sherwood Anderson's wonderful quote: I am a lover and have not found my thing to love. 

Labels: comedy, drama, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 76/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=76, viewers=76)    

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