(500) Days of Summer: This is Not a Love Story (2009)

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Comedy, Drama, Romance

Tom and Summer may be in love but their story is not exactly a love story. From the day Summer arrived at the New Hampshire greeting card company, Tom knew she was “the one.” While he could not figure out how to approach her, casual events led the two of them to becoming friends, and eventually much more than they ever imagined. Unfortunately with the end not being a “happily ever after,” their story jumps back and forth to uncover the evolution and destruction of their relationship. At one moment, they are playing house in Ikea. The next, Tom makes a joke which fails completely. In the latter days of his time with Summer, he continues to search for why they somehow did not work. While this story does not have a true end, he finds closure in his search for understanding love, at least his with Summer.

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tom), Zooey Deschanel (Summer), Geoffrey Arend (McKenzie), Chloe Grace Moretz (Rachel), Clark Gregg (Vance), Patricia Belcher (Millie), Matthew Gray Gubler (Paul), Rachel Boston (Allison), Minka Kelly (Autumn)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel make up this dynamite couple. While their relationship does not exactly work out on screen, they have great chemistry on screen. Gordon-Levitt reflects a range of emotions as he exhibits the roller coaster of love. In some scenes, he shows how love knocks you for a loop. In others, he highlights the dark side of unrequited love, how he breaks down and his journey to look beyond all of the perfect memories to redefine their relationship and his concept of love. Deschanel appears to be the perfect love interest. While she plays a woman who says she does not want a true relationship, she provides a great challenge to Tom’s perfect love concept. There are moments where she appears cold, but her presence is one that stays true to her personality of never committing to love until it actually found her. Chloe Moretz also appears as a rising star, serving as Tom’s voice of reason as his little sister.

Marc Webb’s version of a story about love takes a different spin as it travels back and forth through time to understand the complexity of relationships and the interesting patterns that identify the success or failure of a relationship. Tom and Summer were doomed from the start but they honestly did love each other for a period of time. Their greatest challenge was their lack of compatibility for a long-term relationship. Tom entered into the relationship from a stance of “this is it” while Summer simply saw a guy she liked and wanted to spend time with. There was nothing wrong with the diverging concepts of love (belief in true love versus independence), but both views were challenged as Summer fell into love after they parted and Tom’s belief in Summer being the one was shattered. In some ways, this story proves that love finds you when you least expect it and all relationships, regardless of their persistence, will impact you life in a truly real way.

I love this story for its quirkiness and my ability to relate to the characters. I feel in many ways that I am Tom, the hopeless romantic who struggles with finding “the one.” The style of a nonlinear storytelling and the periodic inserts of reality versus expectations makes this a truly enjoyable exploration of love from the lens of a turbulent relationship.

Dan’s Rating: 4.5/5

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