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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'(500) Days of Summer': An Offbeat and Innovative Comedy about Love, Loss and Self-Reflection

Movie poster for the film (500) Days of Summer starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel

(500) Days of Summer (2009) is an offbeat and innovative romantic comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom, a Los Angeles-based writer of greeting cards—and hopeless romantic. Following a nonlinear narrative, the storyline details Tom's 500-day relationship with Summer (Zooey Deschanel), a spirited young woman he first meets when she's hired to be his boss' assistant.

Bonding over shared interests and opening up to one another during a karaoke outing, the pair determines that Tom's wholehearted belief in love is at odds with Summer's assertion that it does not exist. Nevertheless the two fall headlong into romantic entanglement, even as Summer refuses to admit to their relationship—much to Tom's chagrin. As their courtship progresses and their familiarity with one another evolves, the fractured narrative delivers alternating and contrasting snippets of adoration, enthusiasm, ambivalence and dejection.

Directed by music video director-turned-filmmaker Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Only Living Boy in New York), it's a fresh and imaginative take on the traditional love story delivering a mosaic of consequential moments from throughout the titular affair. The atypical delivery of the storyline amounts to an often pointedly humorous juxtaposition of emotions and transgressions, creating a labyrinthine yet undeniably enjoyable escapade. With entirely winning performances from both leads, it's a quirky, honest and wonderfully unique depiction of modern romance in all its inherent complexities.


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