There’s so much I want to like about (500) Days of Summer.
In concept, this Annie Hall-esque deconstruction of romantic comedies is exactly my sort of movie, and I think its intentions were good, but it only half works for me.
As in the Woody Allen film that clearly inspired it, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays an unlikable obsessive jerk in love. The big difference, though, is that while Annie Hall satirizes Allen’s lifestyle and invites the audience to dislike Alvy Singer, (500) Days of Summer takes the side of Gordon-Levitt’s adorkable character Tom 9 times out of 10.
‘s character Summer, meanwhile, is painted as a heartbreaker, and the film doesn’t give her enough of a chance to rebut that characterization. Summer is supposed to be a parody of the “manic pixie dream girl
,” but in my view the movie becomes what it is trying to mock rather than transcending the trope. Summer’s nuances are buried under layers of style, which this movie has in abundance.
About that style: I love the soundtrack and the many creative sequences, even if they complicate my feelings about the movie overall. My favorite scene in the whole movie is the exquisite “Expectations vs. Reality” sequence, and that is but one of the reasons that, despite my misgivings, I’d still recommend that people see (500) Days of Summer. If nothing else, you’ll walk away ready to have a good conversation.