Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) once had high hopes of being an architect but has settled for a mediocre job writing ditties for a greeting card company. He is a certified romantic who believes in fate, marrying one's soul mate, and experiencing true love in marriage. One day he looks up from his desk and sees Summer (Zooey Deschanel) across the room; she's the attractive young woman just hired to be the boss's new assistant. It is love at first sight as Tom is attracted to her aloofness, her smile, and her laugh. Summer makes it quite clear to this love-smitten co-worker that she is not looking for a serious relationship and has very strong feelings that there is no such thing as love to her, it's a fantasy.
Director Marc Webb has structured this romantic drama around the 500 Days Tom and Summer are together and we jump forwards and backwards as they experience all the exhilarations, disappointments, and disagreements in their complicated relationship. Here are some of the scenes which convey their experiences together:
• the struggle Tom has to find the courage to ask Summer out on a date
• a day spent having a lark at a furniture store
• the pride he feels when she lets him enter her world through her apartment filled with all her private things which give her pleasure
• an evening where they both sing at a karaoke club and reveal different sides of themselves
• the joy he feels after having sex with Summer
• an intimate moment when she shares with him something she has never told anyone else
• a wonderful spiritual moment of connection when Tom takes her to his special spot in Los Angeles a park overlooking some of his favorite buildings
• a clever and effective sequence where Tom's feelings are monitored at a party with a split screen of his expectations on one side and the reality of what happens on the other side.
Throughout the 500 days, Tom's two best friends, a married man and a singleton who drinks too much, offer their counsel on the dynamics of sexual politics. His wise-beyond-her years little sister Rachel (Chloe Grace Moretz) also chimes in with her advice on love.
(500) Days of Summer is gift-wrapped with a delightful mix of music by Belle & Sebastian, the Smiths, and others. There are other creative attempts to spice up the story: a dancing-in-the streets number to "You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates complete with an animated bluebird of happiness; a telling scene from the movie The Graduate, and a funny montage of foreign films. The top-drawer screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber contains many cogent insights into sexual politics, the difficulties that people have in expressing their feelings, and the challenges faced by all those who enter into intimate relationships. Gordon-Levitt gives an appealing and touching performance as the ardent romantic, and Zooey Deschanel continues to impress with another role that gives her a chance to demonstrate her remarkable versatility and ease in front of a camera. (500) Days of Summer is a fresh and appealing romantic drama brimming with heart, creativity, and panache.
Special features on the DVD include an audio commentary with director Marc Webb and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and "Lost Days of Summer" - deleted and extended scenes with an optional commentary.