Thursday, 1 October 2009

(500) Days Of Summer: Movie Review

(500) Days Of Summer: Movie Review

Rating: 8/10
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler.
Director: Marc Webb
Okay right from the off, I am going to issue you a warning.
Much like the start of the movie, which emphasises that the following film is not a love story, (500) Days of Summer will divide people's opinions.
To some the quirky factor of 11 may be too much to handle or the main protagonist will either come across as doleful and sympathetic or whiny and irritating. Seriously I saw this with three friends and we were divided straight down the line - two loved it and two hated it. As you can see from the rating above, we are heading into safe waters with this review.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (GI Joe, Third Rock From The Sun and half the indie movies of the last five years) stars as Tom, a bored greeting card writer and frustrated architect, who is going nowhere fast.
Tom has settled with what he's been given in life, but that all changes when Summer (Zooey Deschanel) is hired as a new secretary in his firm. It's love at first sight.
Backed up by his suitably quirky mates (aren't they always in movies?), Tom finally talks to Summer over their love of those happy British rockers, The Smiths.
And so the picture begins as both fall in and out of love, all told from the point of view of the lovelorn Gordon-Levitt.
First-time director Marc Webb is certainly given the freedom to play with the typical romantic comedy structure. The film plays with time, going from the first feelings of love to the bitter taste of a broken relationship, then back to the awkward initial moments of intimacy, then back again.
Webb also plays with animated sequences and in a bizarre moment, a full scale Busby Berkeley-style dance number in a park. But the great thing is it all works. Yes it's quirky, yes it wants to be different but it doesn't feel completely forced.
Gordon-Levitt has developed from geeky child actor, through geeky teen, to geeky adult but his fine comedic chops stand him well in the more humorous moments. After years of honing his skills in independent movies, (500) Days of Summer, along with his appearance in GI Joe this year, mean he has well and truly arrived in the megaplexes.
Zooey Deschanel plays pretty much the same doe-eyed-ingénue-with-an-edge role as usual and isn't really asked an awful lot to do, but she is a perfect foil to Gordon-Levitt.
There are other minor quibbles, including the slightly overbearing soundtrack, which clearly is hoping that it's mix of trendy, 80s Britpop and French ballads would send it top of the CD charts, just like the soundtrack to that other indie darling Juno.
But overall this is a gem of a movie.

It turns the traditional romantic comedy on its head and will leave you smiling as you leave the cinema. Or of course you could hate the movie like my friends -up to you to decide

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