Okay, that’s a big lie. There won’t be 500 reasons listed here. But it got your attention and that’s important — because (500) Days of Summer, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel is the best romantic dramedy to come around in for-evah. And dare we say, it’s the most honest depiction of relationships since When Harry Met Sally. Yep, we made the comparison and it’s not b.s. this time. It’s really that good.
In a star-making role, Gordon-Levitt (Brick, 3rd Rock From the Sun) plays Tom, a bored greeting card writer, who falls head over heels for his boss’s sexy and mysterious new assistant Summer (Deschanel). Although Summer makes it crystal clear she doesn’t believe in true love and she’s not looking for a serious relationship, she lets Tom in and they embark on a tumultuous courtship that lasts, yes, about 500 days.
Everyone can relate to this setup — you’re madly in love with someone, who, for whatever reason, just doesn’t quite reciprocate the feelings. But in a state of false bliss, you keep trying to make it work, ignoring all of the signs that the relationship is doomed.
(500) Days thankfully avoids all of the rom-com clichés and finally finds a fresh take on the genre. Director Marc Webb does throw in some gimmicks — a 50s style voiceover narration, the movie jumps back and forth in time — but instead of being contrived, they work. And a hilarious Bollywood-like dance number to Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams” is an instant classic — pretty much a big F-U to all of those Julia Robertsy music montages where she tries on funny hats.
It’s also refreshing to see that the lovelorn loser is a guy this time, instead of a 30-something spinster. Gordon-Levitt, who looks like a skinny hipster Heath Ledger, is absolutely adorable and charming as devoted, heartsick Tom. At one point, he’s so depressed, he walks to a deli in his bathrobe and screams at a happy couple walking by, “Get a room!” We’ve all wanted to do that.
Deschanel is no slouch either. She perfectly walks the line between being independent and a total bitch. She could have easily become the villain, but she’s not. Is it her fault that she’s just not that into Tom? Not really. And that’s what makes this movie so real. In one brilliant scene, after they’ve split, Tom goes to a party at Summer’s apartment and the screen splits in two, showing Tom’s expectations of what will happen, and at the same time, the reality of what actually happens. It’s brutal and right on target.
(500) Days of Summer is original, funny, gut-wrenching and bittersweet. After seeing this movie, you’ll genuinely have a better understanding of why that one guy or girl just didn’t want to be with you — and had to break your heart. And it’s kind of cathartic.