Film of the Day - 500 Days of Summer


Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer

 

A movie for every day of the year – a good one

 

 

23 December

 

 

Carla Bruni born, 1967

On this day in 1967, Carla Gilberta Bruni Tedeschi was born in Turin, Italy. The daughter of a concert pianist and a composer, and the grand-daughter of Virginio Bruni Tedeschi, founder of CEAT tyres, Carla grew up in France, where her family moved to escape threats from the Red Brigades, the terrorist group active in 1970s Italy. She studied art and architecture and became a model at 19, going on to become one of the highest paid in the business. In 1997 she abandoned modelling to devote herself to music. Her first album, Quelqu’un M’a Dit, came out in 2003 and was generally well received. She has produced a further three albums since, which are mostly filled with the sort of songs that you would expect of a supermodel – slinky, cool and sexy. In 2008 she married Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then the president of France. Her sister is the actress Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.

 

 

 

500 Days of Summer (2009, dir: Marc Webb)

Carla Bruni turns up on the soundtrack of this flyaway romance with a twist. The twist being that boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, but girl doesn’t fall in love with boy. What we then watch is the hapless, lovelorn Tom beating himself up over the girl, Summer, for the 500 days that they are “together”. So what’s so great about watching a story about failed love? Well, for starters it’s unusual. Then there’s the structure of the thing, director Marc Webb zipping us back and forward in the chronology (day 283 back to day 4 forward to day 300 and so on). Then there’s the fact that we see it all entirely through his eyes – so we’re hanging on with Tom as his hopes are raised and dashed, then dashed again. And when he’s up, he’s really up – the world comes alive, he is literally dancing in the street and a cartoon bird lands on his shoulder. That cuteness is reflected in the casting, the babyfaced Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Tom, Zooey Deschanel (who better?), playing the dizzy Summer. If there is a criticism about this ever-so-charming film, it’s that the character of Summer is never quite explained – why is she stringing this poor guy along? Is she a bitch? We never quite know. But then we are seeing things entirely from Tom’s perspective and it’s possible that we can’t know because he refuses to open his eyes. Other big pluses include the fact that Tom and Summer are intelligent, interesting and cultured people, the film nods to the shoegazing world of mumblecore without being overwhelmed by its self-obsession. And it’s got one of those soundtracks (including The Boy with the Arab Strap, Regina Spektor, Frank Black, Penguin Cafe Orchestra) which has obviously been put together by someone who knows their stuff. Marc Webb went on to direct 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, and turned it into a drama about love’s young dream too.

 

 

Why Watch?

 

  • All films featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt are worth a look
  • The great, and well chosen, soundtrack
  • It’s based on the writer’s Scott Neustadter’s real experience
  • A film unafraid to reference Bergman and Fellini, humorously

 

© Steve Morrissey 2013

 

 

500 Days of Summer – at Amazon

 

 

 

 

imdb poster 500 Days of Summer
(500)
Run time: 95 min
Rating: 7.8
Genres: Comedy | Drama | Romance
Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Stars: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Geoffrey Arend
Trivia: An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her.
Storyline After it looks as if she’s left his life for good this time, Tom Hansen reflects back on the just over one year that he knew Summer Finn. Despite being physically average in almost every respect, Summer had always attracted the attention of men, Tom included. For Tom, it was love at first sight when she walked into the greeting card company where he worked, she the new administrative assistant. Soon, Tom knew that Summer was the woman with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Although Summer did not believe in relationships or boyfriends – in her assertion, real life will always ultimately get in the way – Tom and Summer became more than just friends. Through the trials and tribulations of Tom and Summer’s so-called relationship, Tom could always count on the advice of his two best friends, McKenzie and Paul. However, it is Tom’s adolescent sister, Rachel, who is his voice of reason. After all is said and done, Tom is the one who ultimately has to make the choice to listen or… Written by Huggo
Plot Keywords: summer, love, friend, greeting card, architect
Box Office Budget: $7,500,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: £1,242,631 (UK) (4 September 2009)
Gross: $32,391,374 (USA) (20 November 2009)