Mike Kueber's Blog

September 12, 2013

Saturday Night at the Movies #81 – (500) Days of Summer

Filed under: Movie reviews — Mike Kueber @ 11:32 pm

Wikipedia summarizes this movie much better than I can:

  • (500) Days of Summer is a 2009 American comedy-drama film … starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Tom Hansen) and Zooey Deschanel (as Summer Finn). The film employs a nonlinear narrative structure, with the story based upon its male protagonist and his memories of a failed relationship.  As an independent production, the film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. It garnered critical acclaim and became a successful ‘sleeper hit,’ earning over $60 million in worldwide returns, far exceeding its $7.5 million budget. Many critics lauded the film as one of the best from 2009.

The director, however, disagrees with the movie being characterized as comedy-drama or romance.  Instead, he sees it as a “coming of age” movie.  Whatever!  Although the characters are a few years out of college, I can see how the essence of the film is portraying a young person’s transition from child to adult.

Rotten Tomatoes critics liked the movie better (87%) than its audience did (82%).  I liked it a lot, too; to the tune of three and a half stars out of four.  Why:

  • The stars have a likeable, kid-next-door quality.
  • The story, even with its comedic episodes, is both realistic and interesting.
  • The denouement with Summer, in hindsight, makes perfect sense and contains several excellent insights.  It reminds me of an ex-girlfriend who said that, when he says he doesn’t want to get married, he really means he doesn’t want to marry you.
  • The closing scene, where Minka Kelly finally appears as, you guessed it, Autumn, puts a ribbon on the entire movie.  This scene reminds me of Alan Jackson and Zac Brown singing, “As She’s Walking Away.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tthIHXUsPs.

Incidentally, the movie begins with a disclaimer: “Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental… Especially you, Jenny Beckman… Bitch.”  According to Wikipedia, a co-writer of the film has admitted that the story was based on a real romance.  When the writer showed the script to his ex-, she claimed to think she was more into the relationship than he was.

Memory plays tricks, both ways.


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