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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

(500) Days of Summer (2009)



Reviews and Comments

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are a delight in 500 Days of Summer, a film that is so much better than it needed to be. It is not quite a romantic comedy, though it is romantic and a comedy: as the film itself warns at the outset, this is not a love story. You would be excused for thinking it is, for it certainly looks and feels like one. But it has more to do with the idea of love than an actual instance of it.

Ingeniously, the story's chronology is rearranged. We zip ahead to an advanced moment in a relationship, then double back to see how we got there. It's not just a gimmick: by scrambling the time line, the film mirrors the human memory. When we think back on our history with the important people in our lives, we don't remember events in chronological sequence but reordered in a way that allows us to get a better sense of the bigger picture. Something we learn later illuminates something that happened earlier. It is remarkable to see this idea reflected in the editing of a film.

But although it invites deeper thought like this, the film operates primarily on a level of escapism. Though it's a cliche to say so, this movie is a "feel-good" movie in the best sense of the term. I loved these characters and loved watching them. I can't ask for more than that.