I will be the first to say that I am a fan of the romantic comedy. The right on screen chemistry can make for a fun, though seldom memorable, time at the theater. That said they usually all follow the same template. Boy meets, loses, reclaims. Roll the credits. (500) Days of Summer does what few films in this genre dare to do. That is show the reality of the pain that relationships can be.

Marc Webb directs this Drama/Comedy/Romance about Summer (Zooey Deschanel), a quirky and free spirited young lady who does not believe that true love exists or is possible. When she catches the eye of young love optimist Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) she sends him on an emotional roller-coaster and us on a thoughtful journey.

What I particularly liked about this film may put other cookie cutter, in the box, movie goers off. The 500 days that Tom and Summer spend together are not told chronologically. You get random clips of early, mid and late Summer if you will. Some would argue that it could have been told in order and been better but I think by doing that you miss the contrast the film is conveying. Like real relationships we often lose sight of the early joys once things go south. So instead of having 20 minutes of happy, then 20 minutes of sorrow, then 20 minutes of reconciliation you instead get this woven tapestry of the entire relationship.

As always Zooey Deschanel is delightful. She is so comfortable on screen that you can relax and enjoy her character without worry. True she varies little from past roles in her delivery and movement but it works. Few others can convey thoughts on love and life like Zooey. Her eyes tell a lot about her feelings and this adds a very personable attribute to her performance. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a good Tom in that his average Joe demeanor fits the character. I can believe this guy is a wanna be Architect who writes greeting cards for a living. That is important.

Webb takes a lot of chances with this film and lucky for him they work. From the soundtrack (which is superb) to a random musical dance number, to tons of subtle movie references; all this quirkiness could have made for one heck of a mess. Instead what you get is a funny, refreshing look at relationships. And sure it isn’t tied up in a pretty bow but nothing in life every is.

It is rated PG-13 for sexual material and language. The sexual stuff is tame but they do push the envelope on the language. Nothing gratuitous but still geared for an older audience. Not that your 13 year old would even care to see it I would still shoot for 16 and up. I give (500) Days of Summer 4.5 out of 5 Congrats! Sure you don’t want films like this all the time or they would lose their magic. But when one does come along it is very refreshing and a must see. So says Matt Mungle


Copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions Used with permission

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