Saturday, August 8, 2009

500 Days of Summer

500 Days of Summer is shaping up to be 2009's "Juno". It is the little indie film that critics and self-professed movie aficionado's everywhere are peeing their pants about. So honest, so refreshing, so unlike any other movie out there at the moment, so smart, what a real romantic comedy is.... the platitudes are endless. This scared me a little. A movie that is getting that many rave reviews? Could it live up to the hype for this cynical movie fan?

The thing is, I had been waiting for this movie to be released here in Vancity since January. It was "the" talked about movie at Sundance, and looked full of promise to introduce audiences to a romantic comedy that was honest and realistic and most importantly not starring Sandra Bullock or Katherine Heigl. And thankfully, for me, this movie totally lived up to the hype.

I found this film completely authentic. It could be the story of any relationship. They go to Ikea, art shows, movies, sit in the park, sing karaoke. There are no wacky over the top events. No bets to see how to win a man, no embarrassing parents or grandparents, no fake marriages for green cards, not even a totally crazy friend to make things awkward. None of the typical garbage that Hollywood has been pulling out recently under the guise of romantic comedies. It is just the relatively simple story of a relationship between any boy and any girl. True, Zooey Deschanel's Summer is a little more kooky and free-spirited than most. And Joseph Gorden-Levitt's Tom loses a little credibility in my eyes by taking advice on love from his younger sister (awesomely played by Chloe Grace Moretz).

The non-chronological nature of the film works, jumping through the days of their relationship, pointing out the highs and lows and even going back and revisiting certain things with newly opened eyes. My fave scene is the split screen between what Tom thinks/hopes is happening (expectation) when he encounters Summer post-break up and what actually happened (reality). It was awesome.

The music also anchors the film really well, using different musical genres and styles throughout. Loved the Regina Spektor at the start. Worked perfectly. But it is the two stars of this movie who are amazing. I have been a fan of Zooey Deschanel since Elf, but she really grabbed me in Weeds when she played Andy's crazed exgirfriend Kat. She was f*cking hysterical. My fave quote of hers from Weeds...... as she is abandoning a 12 year old in a diner in the middle of nowhere: "We'll meet again. I'll be older, but I'll still be hot. And you'll be older and you'll still be the same smart, wise, gentle soul you are now. But you'll be taller. and I think that you're gonna do some really interesting things with your facial hair. I just see it. Okay sweetie? Heart hug. Heart hug." OMFG. She was amazing.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also very impressive in his role as the love-struck Tom, who vainly beleives that he can change the free-spirited Summer. He has come a long way since Third Rock From the Sun. He has become quite the indie darling.

This is an inventive, intelligent, realistic look at romance in the 21st century. And what is also very new and different, is that it is being told from the guys perspective. We never really understand why Summer is so leery of relationships and love and I am okay with that. It is the chemistry between the two leads that kills me in this film. As evidenced by this funtastic music video of Zooey's collaboration with M.Ward as "She & Him"

Please go see this film. Don't waste your money on Katherine Heigl or Sandra Bullock or Transformers 2. See this move. It is amazing and wonderful and will restore your faith in Hollyweird. It will make you believe, if only for an hour after you walk out of the theatre, that Hollyweird can make a real, authentic amazing movie.

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