REVIEW – 500 Days of Summer

Sweet Disposition

Review by Vives Anunciacion

Inquirer Libre, OCtober 26, 2009

500 Days of Summer
Directed by Marc Webb

photo_08_hiresGood times, for a change. Indie movies poured in from the States last week (like The Informant and Hurt Locker), it’s like bad Hollywood movies never existed.

Most days of the year, movies are unremarkable. They come and they go without making any lasting impressions on the course of a life. The past week however offered more than the regular for film fans.

500 Days of Summer was a huge hit in the recent Sundance film festival. It is a perfectly accessible film, one that gives warm fuzzy feelings like a bowl of comfort food or your pet dog’s fur, made more fuzzy by an insanely fantastic soundtrack collection. And it’s contagious. And it’s conta-gio-uh-us.

This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story. Well, it is, except the film’s narrator tells the audience it’s not.

The boy, Tom Hansen (the talented Mr. Joseph Gordon-Levitt), studied to be an architect but instead found ready employment as a greeting card writer. The girl, Summer Finn (current “it” girl Zooey Deschanel) digs Ringo Starr, named her dog after Springsteen and dabbles art from painters Magritte and Cezanne.

Since childhood Tom thinks he won’t ever be happy until he meets “the one.” In contrast Summer believes that love is fiction. Tom meets Summer on January 8th at work. I’d like to remind you that the movie’s title is 500 Days of Summer. There is an ending to this story. And it’s not necessarily what you might think.

A friend coined the term maindie (MAINstream + inDIE) to describe these types of films that combine indie aesthetics with Hollywood cuteness. After all, the very inclusion of funky cool soundtrack MAKES this a regular romantic comedy and drowns whatever “honest” portrayal of casual relationships and unrequited love the movie supposedly pertains to.

Summer was most likely written for Dechanel, cast because of her big blue eyes and singsong pixie-ness. Gordon-Levitt was already a revelation in The Lookout, but he surprises here in an open-air dance sequence that rivals those shot in Central Park. L.A. never looked so good.

500 Days is an uncomplicated film, destined to be the quintessential indie Valentine flick it probably aimed to be. While it doesn’t set the bar up for independent cinema, it is exactly the type that makes regular filmgoers like indies. And it’s contagious. And it’s conta-gio-uh-us.

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