(Dir. Marc Webb, 2009)
I’m just going to say up front that I found this “boy meets girl...” movie to be an absolute winner. The tagline: “This is not a love story. This is a story about love” is apt because it isn’t a rom com though it does sometimes venture into that territory in appropriately cringing measures. As the boy in the equation, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a clumsy charm that is easily relatable especially in the premise here: going back and forth over the 500 days that he and Zoey Deshanel (named Summer - hence the title) spent together, both gloriously good and bummingly bad times given equal measure.
Working together at a greeting card firm, Gordon-Levitt falls for Deschanel over a drawn out meet cute that culminates in her complimenting his musical tastes when she hears The Smiths coming from his headphones. After that he's completely smitten and directs all his energies to getting closer to her. Once he gets her, she's still elusive as she tells him she's not looking for anything serious: “Relationships are messy and feelings get hurt. Who needs all that? We’re young. We’re in one of the most beautiful cities on earth. I say let’s have as much fun as we can.” He goes along with that but you can tell he'd do anything to change her mind.
The camera seems to be as infatuated with Deschanel as our protagonist. Her wide eyes and knowing smirk filling many frames; one of many amusing bits has the same series of shots of her being used when Gordon-Levitt describes how much he loves her early on and how much he hates her later when he’s heartbroken. It’s impressive how this film never loses it’s footing as it bounces around its time-line. It’s cleverly crafted with a sharp screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, whose (surprisingly enough) only other film work is THE PINK PANTHER 2. With its extremely appealing leads, durable dialogue, savvy sensibility, and absence of contrivance, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER is a “story about love” well worth savoring.