(500) Days of Summer

A relatively small indie flick made its way to theaters last year, and not a whole lot of people noticed it.  It had a decent box office run, but nothing major.  Starring that kid from Angels in the Outfield and whats-her-face from Yes Man, it got excellent reviews, sporting an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes.

So curiosity got the better of me and it came through on netflix yesterday.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt carries the film.  Effortlessly.  His portrayal of a hopeless romantic going through this relationship is really what makes the movie work.  You feel his pain, share in his victories and cringe in his awkward moments.  His character almost seems to be teetering on bipolar at times, because he is an exaggeration and physical manifestation of human emotions.  It would be easy for his character to be too exaggerated and turn into a parody and make it difficult to identify with him, but thankfully it never does.
And really, if you can care about the main character, that really makes the film.  Take Invincible, a Werner Herzog film.  The main character is poorly acted (because the guy playing him wasn’t a trained actor), but the film is done in such a way that I cared what happened to it, and as such, enjoyed the movie.
The music in this film is amazing, too.  It’s common for independent films to compose their soundtrack almost entirely with quirky independent music, because hey, it’s indie music, that means it’s good, right?  See Juno.  Thankfully, the music is all excellently used, perfectly crafted, and fits the story to a T.
The main character (Tom) works for a greeting card company.  The fact that he is such an emotional person contrasts heavily with his work, since greeting cards are so impersonal.  People use them to say something that should be easy to say out loud to somebody you love.  Compare that against the extremely emotional male lead.  It’s an interesting contrast, and is explored in the film, although not in a cumbersome way.
As awesome as Joseph Gordon-Levitt way, I did not like Zooey Deschanel.  I know that her character is supposed to be absolute, while Tom is dynamic, but I just didn’t think she was that interesting.  In fact, everything I’ve seen her in, she has played the EXACT SAME CHARACTER.  Mysteriously beautiful woman with deep blue eyes who’s into “alternative culture”, just wants to have fun and has all the same mannerisms.  Her emotional range starts out at “ambivalent”, peaks out at “uninterested”, and middles out at “meh”.
I’m sure to a certain extent she was intended to be that way, but I just didn’t like her.
Oh well.  Still, for the things it did right, (which was almost all of them), I give (500) Days of Summer a 92 out of 100, and highly recommend checking it out.Jordan Dehart  

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