Thursday, June 17, 2010

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer
Originally uploaded by Profound Whatever
500 Days of Summer might be one of the most unique romantic films since When Harry Met Sally. Instead of being a story about boy meets girl and they live happily ever after, you find out moments into the film that this is the story of boy meets girl, but boy lost girl. As main character Tom wallows in his break-up from Summer the film jumps around the days in their relationship, exploring the good and the bad working its way until Tom makes peace with the relationship he had and lost.

As someone that’s used a time device to tell a story let me say first that making a non-linear film is hard. Trying to find a device that the audience will understand and stil be able to create a flow and development for the characters is tough – Marc Webb does an excellent job of jumping through time with 500 Days of Summer and never losing Tom and the core of who he is. Of course, as much as this is a compliment to the screenplay and direction, kudos must also be given to Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays Tom.

Gordon-Levitt is a new entry onto the list of actors I adore and want to work with. He’s always been hovering around that list, but I’ve rewatched a few of his films lately and they have firmly planted him on my list. Gordon-Levitt has a way about his craft that throws him in with the greats; he melts into his characters so that you can’t distinguish the acting from the actor – he becomes the character in a way that makes you as a viewer expect that’s who he is in real life, no matter if he’s playing a former whiz kid with a memory issues (The Lookout) or lovelorn Tom (500 Days of Sumemr). The bottom line is that this guy can act and luckily for those of us that have been watching him since Third Rock from the Sun we’ve gotten to be a part of his journey into being a new Hollywood player.

What sells 500 Days of Summer as a quirky romance-drama-comedy is the fact that together the cast and Marc Webb are able to take on every tonal shift throughout the film without missing a beat, making each of them feel as real and genuine as the what comes before and after them. While I feel this film firmly has it’s tonal feet planted in reality, I would have to say that my favorite scene is the one that follows the first time Tom spends the night with Summer. If you haven’t seen the film the scene involves a blissful Tom walking through the city, getting cheered on by the reflection of Han Solo, cartoon birds landing on his shoulder and a full on musical/dance sequence in the park. This doesn’t seem possible when I’ve described the film as being planted in reality does it? You’re going to have to trust me on this one, as Gordon-Levitt & Webb have found the core of Tom’s character the scene works because it’s a world that Tom has created around him, and it’s the reason he falls so hard.

My Netflix queue is filling up as we speak with more of Gordon-Levitt’s films, so be prepared for what’s to come. I am fascinated with Gordon-Levitt and if the last few films of his are any indication of his body of work, there are going to be more positive reviews in the future of this blog – and he’s going to climb higher on my casting dream list.

Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Scott Neustadter & Michael Weber
Tom Hansen: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Summer Finn: Zooey Deschanel
McKenzie: Geoffrey Arend
Rachel Hansen: Chloe Moretz
Paul: Matthew Gray Gubler
Vance: Clark Gregg

Tom: What happens when you fall in love?
Summer: You believe in that?
Tom: It's love, it's not Santa Claus.

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