Friday, November 13, 2009

Movie Recommend: 500 Days of Summer

Rarely do we divulge from news about Alex, and why would we want to? Here's a review I wrote for school though - a movie I'd highly recommend. More news on Alex soon enough.

Review: 500 Days of Summer

The romantic comedy is a genre that has been heavily criticized in the last few decades, most critics wondering why the classic brilliance of films like “His Girl Friday” and “The Philadelphia Story” is absent. Ironically, it is “500 Days of Summer”, a romantic comedy that warns in the opening credits that “it is not a love story”, that might rejuvenate the genre.

“500 Days of Summer” examines 21st-Century American love, a love that is a hybrid between romance and the products of the entertainment industry. Tom Hansen (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the pop cultural-guru average joe – a man raised on the unrealistic ideals of love presented by movies and pop songs. Like so many other men growing up in today’s media-centered world, true love is about soul mates and fairytale endings.

Summer (played by Zooey Deschanel) is a 21st-century gal – a product of an emotionally-crippling divorce culture, full of cynicism and bitterness towards love. Summer crushes Tom’s pop song notions of romance, while Tom tries to validate storybook love to the non-converted Summer, claiming, “It’s love, not Santa Claus.” As opposites, Summer and Tom naturally find interest in each other – a romantic comedy cliche. But as the credits forewarned, “it is not a love story;” the cliches end as quickly as Summer and Tom’s relationship, and that’s when things become most intriguing.

Through unconventional story-telling methods, Tom’s 21st-century ideals on love are analyzed. With non-linear storytelling, the tale of Summer and Tom travels back and forth, exploring the initial sparks of romance to the beginning of the breakup. Perhaps most innovative is the way the film reveals Tom’s inner thoughts. A daydream with a song and dance number is played for laughs; a split screen approach, one side of the screen showing Tom’s expectations while the other side shows reality, is more heartbreaking.

The story‘s focus is not Summer, nor Summer and Tom – it’s just Tom. It’s a reflection on the effects of a nation fed unrealistic expectations of love by MTV and Hollywood. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a brilliant up-and-coming actor, is magic as he tours the laughs of a new romance and the soul-harrowing void of loving someone who no longer loves you back. And maybe, in the end, he’s even the optimism that true love isn’t a complete farce, regardless of the heart-breaking “Summers” of the world.