I’d be surprised if you knew the name Marc Webb; until now, he was a measly director of music videos. This does seem to show in his film début (500) Days of Summer; music is such an integral part of the movie, being a plot device, an atmospheric touch and a large part of the experience all in one. Joseph Gordon-Levvit and Zooey Deschanel star as hopeless romantic Tom and the titular Summer respectively in what’s surely the most true and heart-warming romantic comedy ever released.
There are no stupid or outrageous plotlines that totally jump the shark like you see in films such as 27 Dresses and The Proposal. It’s a simple premise: boy meets girl, boy falls in love, girl doesn’t. From then on, it’s a non-linear trip between random points in their 500-day relationship, through the ups and the downs, through sex scenes and arguments, until we reach the film’s conclusion.
And what exactly might this “conclusion” be? Well, I’m not going to spoil for you the message the entire film fights to convey, but keep in mind the opening narration’s assertion that this is not a love film. The comedy elements are not ridiculous escapades but entirely believable scenarios, made even funnier because of it.
I’m not going to lie: Zooey Deschanel is one of my favourite actresses ever, and this is one of her finest performances yet. There’s great chemistry between her and Gordon-Levvit, making for one of the most realistic on-screen couples in a long time, even if it is a short-lived relationship. There’s no ugly geezer who looks like he’s never even come close to a girl matched up with some blonde beauty like a lot of other rom-com couples; this is a film where the main characters are realistic, and the scenarios are realistic.
It’s also probably the manliest romantic comedy ever made. I enjoyed this film with another male person, with no females present. That’s odd for a romantic comedy, and for me. It’s because of the realism, I’m sure; with something like Love, Actually, an equally good rom-com, I’m sure I’d feel awkward enough to edge away from my friend slowly.
There’s hardly anything more to say: if you haven’t yet seen this film, go see it, now! Buy the soundtrack too! If you’re unlucky enough to live in the United States, you can get three bonus tracks if you buy the album from iTunes. Here in Britain we miss out.