I may occasionally try to coerce film-makers whose output has offended me into suicide, and sometimes write about splitting pereniums and burning down orphanages but inside I’m a big, fluffy, kitten really. I use words like “snuggle”, and weep to Joni Mitchell records. I also watch far, far too many poor romantic comedies, usually at the expense of my sanity.
I couldn’t be happier then that ‘(500) Days Of Summer’, the sort of rom-com that should be being made, has now been put into the world. Mainly because its a film that let’s me engage my big lovey-dovey side but also because it actually contains realism.
Put simply, it’s the tale of Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel). Tom falls in love. Summer doesn’t. (Hey they should use that as the tagline!). It’s their relationship set over 500 days, seen through Tom’s eyes.
His (often dubious) memory, complete with fantasy dance numbers and slow-mo tender moments, may give the look of the film a fantasy Hollywood gloss but the substance is all about looking for, and finding, the truth.
The film’s strongest point is its capacity to elicit pleasurable and painful memories from the audiences back catalogue of relationships. And it’s not just that everyone knows (or thinks they know) a girl like Summer or a boy like Tom, it’s the detail of the smaller moments that make the film stand out as an honest account of a men and women. Moments that deserve multiple viewings to really get to the bottom of.
The awkwardness of starting a conversation with someone you’re attracted to. The feeling of connecting when they like the same ‘bizzaro crap’ as you. That first time. It’s moments like Summer crying at ‘The Graduate’ and Tom not understanding why. It’s her imploring him that she’s still his best friend. The good, the bad and the ugly of relationships are represented so extraordinarily well at times you forget the other plus points.
These include a great soundtrack, two of the most gorgeous and talented young actors working today, more laugh-out-loud moments than most out-and-out comedies, a script full of insightful and funny dialogue, ridiculously assured (debut) direction from Marc Webb, and an overall story that lightly takes you by the hand and won’t let go. ‘(500) Days Of Summer’ is a rare, rare, thing – a romantic comedy that is both hilarious and real. Watch it. Now.