this is not a love story: 500 days of summer

This is a story of boy meets girl.

The boy, Tom Hansen of Margate, New Jersey, grew up believing that he’d never truly be happy until the day he met ‘the one’. This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total misreading of the movie The Graduate.

The girl, Summer Finn of Shinnecock, Michigan, did not share this belief. Since the disintegration of her parents’ marriage, she’d only loved two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off… and feel nothing.

Tom meets Summer on January 8th. He knows almost immediately she’s who he’s been searching for.

This is a story of boy meets girl.

But you should know up front. This is not a love story.

Almost from the outset, 500 Days of Summer is seemingly set to be a cheeringly, but depressing movie.

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a writer for a greeting card company won’t be happy until he finds ‘the one’. Then he comes across the new girl in town: Summer Finn ( Zooey Deschanel), who starts working at the greeting card company as an assistant to the boss there. From there, it seem like a boy meets girl love story.

But not quite. While Tom reckons he’s finally found that one person, Summer’s looking for something casual. Originally at first, this seems to be fine. But then, it starts getting deeper. But by then, the interest starts to die down from Summer and before then, it’s over. The movie tells in the space of 500 days (shock) the relationship from meeting, getting together and breaking up to the aftermath in a jumbled up order.

Let it be said, first off, that JGL and Zooey’s relationship and chemistry just clicks. It works. How they play off each other in certain scenes – the one that comes to mind is the scene in Ikea – is very fascinating to see. It’s something I rarely spot in movies or any form of entertainment because I don’t typically look for it. But their partnership works on screen. It simply works.

The pacing of the movie may seem to be jumbled, but it seemingly works. And the expectations/reality scene towards near the end is a stroke of genius.

500’s soundtrack is easily the best licensed soundtrack I’ve probably heard. Regina Spektor, The Smiths, Hail & Oates and others to name a few. You can listen to it on Spotify. I’ve embedded it below. Soundtrack’s partly the reason why 500 has climbed its way into my favorite films list ever.

Regarding its ending, it’s the second only ever to actually genuinely make me smile at the end of a film. I’ve never had too many endings where I actually felt emotion towards the end. Or if I have, I certainly don’t remember it. Before 500, the only ending that made me smile was Tron Legacy. But 500’s ending is one that is worth raising a smile because it’s so heartwarming. although probably not in the way you expect.

Summing up, you need to watch this. Great pair of main characters and cast, great soundtrack, great story and great ending. Sort it out now.

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