Amazon Holiday

Friday, July 17, 2009

(500) Days of Summer

(Guest Review by Russ)

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: An offbeat comedy about a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is sure he’s found the woman of his dreams (Zooey Deschanel) and the five-hundred days that follow in which his expectations meet reality.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Clark Gregg, Matthew Gray Gubler, Chloe Moretz, Minka Kelly

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketGo! Even the filmmakers at a Q&A following the screening were having a hard time defining the genre of this movie because it is not a typical ‘Hollywood’ romantic comedy. One fan proposed: “Emotional Action Film.” I’m not sure that description fits best either. Maybe we just skip genre and call (500) Days of Summer a classic, because it might very well turn out to be one. Only time will tell of course, but this movie is a rare gem in that it treats the viewer to relatable emotions, laughter, cinematic creativity and humanity. Regardless of its bittersweet ending, you will leave feeling great and your faith in movies will be completely, 100% restored. Not every movie needs to be as great as this one is; they just need to come along once in a while to remind us how transcendent cinema can be.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: Yes, often and throughout. Both Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel inhabit their characters so fully that you will be laughing along with them as if they are two of your best friends.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: It very well might. This is no cliché-ridden romance; what this couple goes through is inherently relatable and it’ll surely hit close to home more often than not. How you feel about that one special ‘ex’ may dictate how sad – or angry – you become.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: I believe it will be eligible for all the Spirit Awards and I can see it handily winning many of them. But with the Academy recently announcing expansion of the Best Picture category to ten nominees (instead of the usual five), there is pretty much zero doubt this movie will score a Best Picture nomination. It also deserves nominations for acting, direction, production design, music, costumes, editing and writing, we’ll see if it gets them.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Much like The Hangover is refreshing in that it presents us with four new comedy stars, this movie puts two fine actors front-and-center who aren’t typically known for starring in romantic-type films. At the Q&A someone asked Joseph Gordon-Levitt if there was anything he couldn’t do? He answered by performing a back-flip, so I guess that answers that question. The two leads are so good together they’ll leave you begging for more, yet at the same time they manage to accomplish the rare feat of making their non-chemistry just as believable as the chemistry that draws them together. In the context of this movie, that’s a good thing and you’ll understand why after seeing it.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Marc Webb makes his debut with this film after a career in music videos. This is a home run on par with Sam Mendes’ and Rob Marshall’s film debuts (and note they both won academy awards for directing for their first films, American Beauty and Chicago respectively). Yes it’s absolutely that good and visually creative and forward thinking. Set in downtown Los Angeles, it is as much a love letter to the city and its architecture as the film itself is a love letter to its audience. (500) Days of Summer is such a rare thing; not easily definable, which has as much to do with its direction as the writing and acting. What could have become a little too cutesy and precious manages instead to strike a perfect tone between that feeling of being head-over-heels in love and the total despair of depression when it’s gone. The musical numbers are great too. Oh wait, did I not mention the musical numbers? Don’t worry, you will love them.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: This movie is so well written I have to mention the screenwriters by name: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber. The five hundred days that are covered (and don’t worry, we don’t see every one of them) are told out of order but it’s easy to keep up thanks to a handy (and clever) on-screen counter that tells us exactly which day it is. But what sounds like a gimmick is actually a masterstroke of storytelling because it not only allows the audience to breathe, but to also better relate to the rollercoaster ride of Tom’s emotional journey. (500) Days is the best, most emotionally authentic portrayal of the crystallization of the ups and downs of falling in and out of love since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but spares us the head-trippiness of that movie. The word ‘summer’ in the title actually refers to the name of the character Zooey Deschanel plays, but do yourself a favor and put this winner on your summer-viewing schedule. You won’t regret it and you don’t want to be left out of all the conversations everyone will inevitably be having about it.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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Lisa said...

great review! it totally fits with my viewing experience. and I'm ready to see it again

Avenir labs said...

half blood prince is a romantic comedy but not a love story.

Kenny Wyland said...

I just saw it yesterday and it's utterly brilliant. I couldn't agree with your review more. I wish that more movies were so witty in their construction and so real in their emotion.

I especially agree with your sentiment about the counter screen allowing us to breathe. It almost even allowed me to prepare myself for what I was able to see next. When I saw the counter clicking up and the little tree on the screen changing with the seasons I knew what I was able to see and could steel myself.

Absolutely brilliant. It may be the most well done movie I've seen in years.

hanum said...

I like this movie a lot, it reminds me of someone. Good.. Good..