500 Days of Summer is like the American Apparel of movies, in that tries really hard to be hip--so hard it sometimes evokes an involuntary cringe. The perfect soundtrack (indie-pop infused with cleverly ironic 80’s hits), the smart cinematography, the occasionally broken fourth wall… It’s a natural progression from mid-00’s “youth-culture” flicks like Garden State and it does a good job rounding out the decade.
Everything in this dramedy resembles a music video and the characters are twentysomethings once again not living up to their full potential. 500 Days of Summer is touted as being really unique and original--it’s not. But that’s not to say that it’s not worth watching; it is, and mostly because of the leads. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel play a couple whose relationship story is told through a series of out-of-order flashbacks. The non-linear storytelling means we hop moment to moment from sweet, romantic and fun to crushingly desperate and sad, because the ultimate point here is that even when we believe we may have found The One, said soulmate might not feel the same way. Gordon-Levitt is an exciting actor to watch and after a succession of very serious, very troubled roles, it’s a pleasure to see him here as a mostly well-adjusted young guy whose biggest problem is that he loves someone who doesn’t love him back. He’s the hero, and as such, Deschanel’s Summer Finn becomes the bad guy a little bit. But Deschanel plays it all big-eyed, conflicted and real and so you can’t help but forgive her. The much-lauded musical scene is tremendously joyful; if it doesn’t put a smile on your face, nothing will. 500 Days of Summer isn’t groundbreaking, but it's an entertaining movie about hip, beautiful people whose lives you can only enjoy for about two hours before getting back to your own. --Kira Canny
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