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Saturday, March 12, 2011

(500) Days of Summer (2009)

From When Harry Met Sally... to (500) Days of Summer, I seem to be finding the best romantic comedies. Just as a side-note The Breakup wasn't terrible either, but I don't feel like writing about it. Over 20 years between the two movies, and countless terrible movies between them, it shows that the genre isn't dead. Romantic Comedies just need two things: the courage to go off-formula and good performances.

(500) Days of Summer shows the turbulent relationship between Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) from when they meet until their relationship ends. In case you're wondering, I did not spoil the ending. Most people know, or figure out, going into the film that it ends that way. This hour and a half is all about seeing how it all happens from day one to 500, skipping a few days here and there, and backtracking every once in a while.
The most interesting aspect of the film is the backtracking and non-linear storyline. Almost every day is labeled before the scene and you can tell if it's going to be a good day or bad day. The movie will shift from a good day (when the movie is very funny) to a bad day (when the movie is still very interesting), and back, as a way to see the relationship deteriorates. The one problem with this is you can lose track of which day you're currently watching. It doesn't cause a lot of problems with the progress of the movie, but it can take you out of it once or twice. That's not the only thing interesting to this film, it loves to utilize a great narrator (Richard McGonagle) and split-screen to great effect.
The performances by the cast are phenomenal, and one thing I'm wondering about the filming is did they film the good days and bad days separately? I need to single out Gordon-Levitt. Tom is the major character of the movie. We almost only see his point of view on the ups and downs of the relationship, so I feel he had to bring a little more to each scene. One major member of the supporting cast, that stood out to me, is ChloĆ« Moretz in a pre-Kick Ass role. She plays Tom's sister Rachel and seems to be the only person that can get through to him in times of crisis. Marc Webb directed this film amazingly, and I now have some real hope for the new Spider-Man movie. 

Update: Webb's Spider-Man movies ended up becoming one of my personal favorites, for better or worse.