Tuesday, July 28, 2009
500 Days of Summer
L. told me she was able to see the Independence Day fireworks from a Ferris wheel seat she shared with her girlfriends. I could tell, even if it hadn't occurred to her that she had one of those moments. The sweet and magical sort that is only made better when you're with someone you love more than anyone in the world.
In 500 Days of Summer, the directorial debut of Marc Webb, the cloying and implausible storylines of romantic comedies are shelved in favor of quirky characters who work earnestly to understand and explore their connectedness. Is it love? Is it like? Is it a temporary or forever thing?
As the lead characters Summer Finn and Tim Hansen, Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt do great things with small, quiet moments. They are genuine and appealing, and believable as 20-somethings that are still finding their voices and places in the world. 500 Days refers to a timeline of their romance, although the notable moments are told in a zigzag style neglecting chronology. This is especially effective, because it resembles how a person might actually tell their love story, complete with exaggerations and omissions.
When I think of L. sitting on the Ferris wheel watching the fireworks, or the clumsy missed connections of the couple in 500 Days of Summer, I understand how strange it is to experience those delirious moments; the laughter and tenderness and memorable time with the wrong person. But it is the kind of stuff that keeps a person hopeful and maybe that's really at the root of what we call ‘romantic’.