Hipster heartbreak might leave you hollow
500 Days of Summer is an over the top, tragic, moderately terrific, and modern love tale. Yeah, it's a love story and if you were expecting something different
oops. Summer is the "new" love story, the one where the boy gets his heart smashed into a million pieces by the chick before she sets it on fire and Fed-Exs the remains to hell. A feature that will appeal to both guys and girls Summer's like the film equivalent of emo.
You don't have to be die hard to appreciate it; this movie's got somethin' for everyone. It has all the awesome ingredients of a great film: wardrobe, writing, directing, dance number (seriously). AND it does its damndest to appeal to the urban hipster in us all. You have anti-republican sentiment (funny line), Pixies' songs (OMG), The Smiths (I swear to God), Dress du Deschanel (her fashion sense on and off screen is supa fly), nerd love (there is hope for us all), IKEA (hell yeah!), and Zooey sings (I mean is a Zooey film really a Zooey film if we don't allow her to belt one out?). This movie puts everything that appeals to my kind of person together into a pot. So, I should be happy, right? Wrong. But I'll get to that later.
Heartbreak kid Tom (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt) is a greeting card writer living in his bubble of goofy boy gorgeousness while secretly pining/stalking the token office newbie and the new resident hottie, Summer (played effortlessly by Zooey Deschanel). Tom's interesting antics at wooing finally pay off and he gets almost all of Summer despite her clearly saying upfront that a small piece of her is all he's going to get and he better be satisfied with it. He's not, and we spend a significant chunk of the film following Tom back and forth through good and bad times with Summer and see a) how oblivious one can be when blinded and blindsided by love and b) that Summer turns into a kinda sorta beyotch. Although its apparent to everyone with a brain that she is not the girl for him, Tom's heart wants want the heart wants and if Morrissey can make you a match it must be the real deal, right? Wrong again. Summer pretty much destroys him and I was anxiously waiting for the suicide scene that never came. Levitt is at his best when he plays the desperate, distraught and destroyed Tom. The pain is not subtle but the performance is far from melodramatic.
It's not that Summer's not funny because it actually is. Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Webber do a fabulous job of crafting fresh, funny, lines to balance the downbeat overtone that the film shifts to. It's not that Summer's not cute because it is can be. It's not the typical frat boy film (it has its moments of subtle vulgarity), but by no means is this the early thirties American Pie. This movie has one flaw and, depending on how pretentious you are, it can be fatal. What Summer suffers from is trying WAY too hard. Everything from the choice in music, to the wardrobe, to the scenery shows an unnatural amount of attention to detail and at times it can be insulting. I mean, I swear I heard a Carla Bruni song somewhere in there. The world where the characters reside is full of trendy thrift stores, drunken douche bags and Urban Outfitters, but I didn't see a single crack head, hooker, or film exec wandering the streets of Tom's LA.
If you are the kind of person that gets lured into stores by the people that stand outside and con you into coming in or the person that buys an IPhone solely on the commercials you will LOVE this film. Every stale attempt at appealing to that hipster aesthetic will woo you into its lair and never let you go for the duration. Don't take my cynicism as total disdain. This movie is perfectly fine, its plot is good, the acting is straight and the other film components such as the direction, writing and score are quite swell. What it suffers from is that classic component of cake dilemmas. You got a perfectly fine cake and some awesome icing (which is totally the best part). But for some reason the damn baker is all like, "Dude, lets pile 6 more pounds of frosting on and make it unbearable!" What starts off scrumptious leaves you with a tooth and tummy ache, an immense feeling of regret and an overwhelming desire to spend six hours at the gym tomorrow. That is 500 Days of Summer, now you have to decide if it's really worth it.
FC Reviews - 500 Days of Summer
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.