(500) Days of Summer Review
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Most of us, at one time or another, have experienced that grand, life-changing, highly irrational relationship—the one that has you dancing on air and humming love songs in your head. You’re so in love that you’re oblivious to the rest of the world—because nothing else matters. Every day is like a glorious dream—until, one day, it all comes to an end, and you wake up to the soul-crushing heartbreak of lost love. For me, it was a volleyball-playing pizza delivery guy in college. For Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), it was Summer (Zooey Deschanel).

All his life, Tom dreamed of finding The One. Then, on a completely unremarkable day at the office, he meets his boss’s new assistant—Summer—and, right away, he just knows.

Unfortunately, though, Summer isn’t quite so sure. A child of divorce, skeptical Summer is convinced that there’s no such thing as True Love. And as she and Tom become friends—and maybe even something else—she warns him that she’s not looking for anything serious. He lies and says he understands—then he proceeds to fall madly, passionately, head-over-heels in love with her.

But, as the narrator warns at the beginning of the film, “This is not a love story.” And, as the story hops and skips back and forth, through snippets of Tom’s infatuated memories, you soon find that his wildly romantic fantasies are nothing like his ambiguous reality.

(500) Days of Summer offers a delightfully fresh and insightful take on the same old romantic comedy. In a way, it’s a lot like that life-changing, all-encompassing romance. It’s a jumble of stomach-twisting uncertainty, euphoric highs, and heartbreaking lows. It’s full of surprises. It’s music and laughter and holding hands in IKEA—but it’s also junk food and booze and brokenhearted obsession. In the end, it might even leave you feeling like you’ve grown a bit in the process. Fortunately, though, it’s mercifully compressed into a mere 95 minutes (instead of 500 days—or, say, five years). And when it’s all over, you’ll still have your pride, your sanity, and your waistline intact.

Though the offbeat story is often hysterical—smattered with awkward office exchanges and drunken karaoke—it’s also sweetly, blissfully romantic. And as it all plays out, you’ll find yourself falling head-over-heels in love, too—with the remarkable cast. Deschanel basically plays the same lovably flighty character that she’s played for years—only with an extra twist of skepticism. But there’s an irresistible twinkle in her eye—and even though you’ve seen her schtick before, you’ll still understand what makes her so lovable (and dangerous).

Gordon-Levitt, meanwhile, is absolutely adorable as hopelessly love struck Tom. The shamefully underrated actor gives a brilliant and convincing performance, reminiscent of his late 10 Things I Hate About You co-star, Heath Ledger. He’ll draw you in with his playful, gleaming smile and his puppy-dog eyes, and he’ll make you feel what his character’s feeling.

Chick flicks this enchanting don’t come along every day—or even every 500 days. (500) Days of Summer is keenly observant, cleverly written, and skillfully acted—a must-see summer romance.

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