For Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel, Love Still Hurts in (500) Days of Summer
Seemingly similar to most factory-made rom-coms, former music-video director Marc Webb's first feature is actually far less interested in the will-they-or-won't-they and more concerned with the why-can't-they. Its lovers—Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Tom and Zooey Deschanel's Summer, natch—are perfect for each other, yet are perhaps still not meant to be. He is forever in search of his soulmate, influenced by too much mid-'80s Britpop and an incorrect reading of The Graduate's finale. She insists she's looking only for a commitment-free good time, no doubt the result of a childhood spent being the object of everyone's affection. Webb, working from a screenplay by the men responsible for The Pink Panther 2 (sweet fancy Moses!), employs a storytelling gimmick to render his movie palatably unconventional. The director introduces us to Tom and Summer mid-breakup, then takes us back to the moment when they share their first glance, then back and forth and back and forth and beyond, till each glimpse is recontextualized, and thus reconsidered. Very Sundance-y. But the real surprise of (500) Days of Summer isn't the presentation—this isn't exactly Steven Soderbergh or Alejandro González Iñárritu territory here. It's more like a love story in a blender. What is unexpected is the sincerity beneath the modest conceit that, yup, love hurts.
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