I haven't seen a romance this touching since I was the same type of single sad sack as depicted by the hero of (500) Days of Summer.
Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has his radar up for "the girl of his dreams" when he meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Too bad for Tom Summer is stuck on friends-with-benefits mode. Let the tension begin.
Director Marc Webb captures the feeling of innocent, naïve love expertly. Anyone who has taken the lyrics of the Smiths too closely to heart, would be moved by the idea of the person they are crushing on sing to them: "To die by your side/is such a heavenly way to die." No wonder Tom soon falls head over heels for this girl.
As events unfold out of sequence, you know all along Tom has fallen for a time bomb of a woman, and he can't even see the countdown. When that bomb finally blows up in his face, it unfolds with powerful simplicity-- no exposition or dialog, just two juxtaposed events that capture the heartache of reality hitting a person who sees a person through the filter of deep-seated emotions that were planted at too young an age.
So many romantic films nowadays concern themselves with cute ideas; take 'He's Just Not That Into You' or 'Serendipity' for example. Even movies like 'Knocked Up' where a pot-smoking, video-gaming, narcissistic slob tries to turn his life around to try to be a father feels more contrived than real. These movies forget about human feelings.
Who cares about stock or cartoonish characters in love. The couple in (500) Days of Summer have true chemistry. There are some beautiful, subtle moments of tenderness as well as some heart- rending moments of disconnectedness between the two that never comes across as heavy-handed. The movie constantly reminds you that these are two different people with different ideas of a relationship, yet they stubbornly continue dating, and they remain lovable all the same.
An omniscient narrator sets the film up early on by noting "this is not a love story." And, in a way, it isn't. It's a story about feelings. It just so happens (500) Days of Summer captures the sensation of falling in love better than most movies.
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