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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Life + Arts

(500) Days’ teaches one lesson

Marc Webb’s first feature film (500) Days of Summer is far from traditional.

At the beginning, quick-witted narrator (Jean-Paul Vignon) informs the audience that ‘this is not a love story’ but rather ‘a story about love.’

Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is an optimistic but deluded young man. Tom works at a comfortable but mundane job writing for a greeting card company based in Los Angeles.

Despite having the education and skills to become an architect, Tom remains in his standstill niche. The only thing that appears to drive Tom is his idealistic, naive views on love – expectations he has possessed since adolescence.

One day at work, he encounters Summer (Zooey Deschanel), his boss’ new assistant, whom he believes is ‘the one.’ The only setback is Summer does not believe in true love.

The duo delve into a relationship to test the waters, but it becomes turbulent for Tom as his feelings for Summer intensify. Unfortunately for the protagonist, Summer does not share these feelings.

As the relationship between Tom and Summer spirals downward, everything he thought he knew about love is tested.

The experiences Tom gains with Summer present the story’s turning point. In an attempt to overcome his severe depression after his relationship with Summer does not turn out as he hoped, Tom takes reluctant but sure steps to turn his life around.

Rachel (Chloe Mortez) presents an equally enjoyable performance as Tom’s precocious sister, who serves as his constant adviser on love and relationships.

The film chronicles Tom’s adventure with Summer through a countdown that weaves in and out of order, including a musical number and other unique devices.

(500) Days derives its strong point not from its unconventional and quirky approach, but from the slightly harsh and bittersweet dose of reality it serves to viewers.

The audience is not given the resolution it desires – a happy ending for Tom and Summer. Instead, Webb, the film’s director, conveys how coincidences play themselves into our lives.

If the events that played out in Tom’s life hadn’t taken place, would he still have made the decision to turn his life around? Better yet, would this film have the same effect had Tom won Summer’s heart?

All and in all, (500) Days is a sweet story, beautifully told with an ending that actually makes sense

(500) Days of Summer

Rating: PG-13

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel

Verdict: 500 Days in only 95 minutes, worth the money.

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