Commentary

May 4, 2012

On DVD

Fly Over: ‘500 Days of Summer’

Love and pain in a store for star-crossed hipsters

by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Movie-Poster

There’s no such thing as love. It’s a fantasy.

So proclaims Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) in the 2009 romantic comedy “500 Days of Summer,” a poignant meditation on love, relationships and heartbreak.

Deschanel, who has recently become a bit of a feminist cultural touchstone and currently stars in the FOX series “New Girl,” is perfectly cast as the charming, zany and independent Summer. Her laissez-faire, no-strings-attached approach to relationships is very different than that of Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), her coworker at a greeting-card company in Los Angeles.

Tom, at the beginning of the movie at least, is a romantic. He believes in true love, fate and that things happen for a reason. Despite their differing philosophies on love, the two have much in common, sharing similar taste in movies, music and books. Throughout the film, the two leads have tremendous on-screen chemistry.

We see events unfold from Tom’s viewpoint, and the film draws its title from his account of the 500 days Summer was in his life. Their courtship, relationship and its inevitable decline is portrayed through a very effective nonlinear plot structure and other innovative filmmaking techniques by director Marc Webb, whose eye for detail is masterful. The theme of unrequited love is as old as storytelling itself, but it is shown here with refreshing compassion.

We know up front things do not work out between Tom and Summer; as the movie poster itself aptly describes, “This is not a love story. This is a story about love.”

After a relationship falls apart, it’s natural to look back and try to pinpoint where things went wrong. You ask yourself, what were the warning signs that I missed? What could I have done differently?

We see several scenes repeated not from a different character’s viewpoint, but Tom himself reflecting on his memories in light of what he now knew was going to happen. The scenes are not repeated verbatim, but this time he’s remembering small things that may have been the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. These are things as simple as a gesture, a glance, a tone of voice. Sometimes, they’re the most important.

Tom is intelligent and caring, but sometimes sensitive to a fault. His desire to put a title on their relationship – which they never do – springs from his insecurity and fear that Summer will leave him. As he admits, he wants her to be his “girlfriend” so he will know she’ll still like him in the morning. The sad reality is that no title is a sure promise of that.

Summer, however, has no interest in characterizing their relationship in traditional terms. She is fearful of commitment and intransigent in her independence.

Despite their flaws, both the leads are very likable, and they are joined in this movie by an excellent supporting cast. Tom’s best friends McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) and Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler) provide emotional support for Tom and comic relief for the audience. Chloe Grace Moretz is brilliant as Rachel, Tom’s little sister who consoles him after things go south with Summer.

Ultimately, the film transcends its romantic-comedy genre as it explores the mysteries of love and heartbreak. This 500-day Summer is one you won’t want to miss.    

“500 Days of Summer” is rated PG-13.

 


Did you enjoy or perhaps disagree with something in this article? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t forget, you can sign up for our email newsletter or subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up with our latest headlines.


About the Author

Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Tristan Hinderliter is a full-time Public Affairs Officer and part-time pop culture critic. When he's not listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast, he's usually watching movies. His favorite directors include David Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Alexander Payne.


All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

2015 NFL Pro Bowl players practice at Luke

Senior Airman Grace Lee Aqib Talib, Denver Broncos cornerback, assigned to Team Carter, signs footballs for fans at Luke. NFL Pro Bowl players came to the Luke Air Force Base football field Jan. 21 to practice and sign autograp...
 
 

Let’s be an all-volunteer force

Well, we made it through the holiday season. Hopefully we have all reset and are ready to rock and roll this year. By now we should be well into fulfilling the New Year’s resolutions that we set in place to improve ourselves. I’m sure you are hitting the gym more or maybe just starting to....
 
 

Stay out of rain; see bigger picture

Supervisors, you build and lead teams to the best of your abilities. You hold an umbrella of protection over your people, but what do you do when one of your members runs into the rain via a bad decision? Do you take your protective umbrella from other members to go cover your solo member? Or...
 

 
Senior Airman
GRACE LEE

Luke 1 takes last Viper ride

Senior AirmanGRACE LEE Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, returns from his last flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon Jan. 23 at Luke Air Force Base. Pleus’ last flight symbolizes Luke stepping forward with a ne...
 
 

News Briefs January 30, 2015

VH1 concert VH1 and sponsors supporting the event are hosting a Super Bowl Blitz concert featuring Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX at 5 p.m. today in Hangar 999 as a “Thank you” to those who serve in the U.S. military. Members of the Luke community are invited and the concert is free. Service members...
 
 
Senior Airman 
DEVANTE WILLIAMS

61st AMU assigns first F-35 dedicated crew chiefs

Senior AirmanDEVANTE WILLIAMS Members of the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit dedicated crew chiefs prepare to recite the Mechanic’s Creed during the recognition ceremony Jan. 23 in Hanger 431 at Luke Air Force Base. Seventeen ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin