Monday, August 3, 2009

This weekend's movies, 1 of 2: 500 Days of Summer

I am attempting to write something akin to actual movie reviews. Criticism is appreciated.

500 Days of Summer is a romantic comedy featuring Zoey Deschanel (Weeds, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) as Summer Finn and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (long-haired kid from Third Rock From the Sun) as Tom Hansen. The movie chronicles 500 days of the stormy relationship between Summer and Tom. This is not a spoiler. You are let to know (actually before the movie even really starts) in not so subtle ways that this will not be a Sleepless in Seattle-style heartwarming puppydog love story. As the movie says very clearly, while this is a story about love, it is not a love story. The basic premise is that Tom is a romantic who believes in love, soul-mates, and all that goes along with it, while Summer believes in being young, independent, and having fun. It becomes clear that Tom is changing her mind with regards to the subject of love, but you're never quite sure just how much.

Joseph Gordon Levitt is absolutely wonderful in this movie. You are elated as he bursts into song in a parody of every "I love her" musical number you've ever seen. You are crushed when he is. Levitt manages to portray surprising depth in a character which could easily become a goofy one dimensional man-confused-by-woman, ala Hugh Grant. Luckily, the movie is told mostly from his point of view.

Zoey Deschanel's character fell flat for me. She did a remarkably good job of playing the quirky, bubbly, fun times not-girlfriend, but struggled to bring the character any real depth. On day 500, a pivotal scene in the movie, she is given a lot of space to bring something to her character, but the scene falls flat. Her quirky good looks, however are perfect for the role.

For the cinema geeks out there, there are some pretty interesting aspects to this film. Time lines are fluid and hop back and forth in a way that feels intuitive. There is extensive use of blending of multiple media types, especially pencil-style sketching in order to more crisply evoke emotion. Lastly there is an absolutely wonderful montage in which a split-screen is used to depict the difference between expectations and reality.

I won't do stars or thumbs up. What I will say is that this is worth ten bucks to go see now. Not on a first date though. In fact, not on a date with anyone you haven't been with for a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment