You’re going to hear a lot about “500 Days of Summer” over the next few months. All of the good stuff is true. Any bad stuff you hear is not.
Gordon-Levitt (“Brick,” “Miracle at St. Anna”) and Zooey Deschanel (“All the Real Girls,” “Almost Famous”) are the only two actors who could have played these roles so well. He is Tom, a greeting card writer with a profound faith in love. She is Summer, an independent, vision of a woman who thinks love is as fictional as Santa Claus. Of course they meet. Of course they fall for each other. Of course there are problems. It sounds cliché but what’s remarkable about “500 Days” is how the film explores new ways to tell the world’s oldest story.
Neustadter and Weber’s script is fantastic. The story moves backwards and forwards through time and uses a day counter to help us keep track of where we are. The counter shuffles into the high two-hundreds, then back down to the first week. There’s the break-up, the making up, the first introduction, etc. The non-linear storyline is just one of the great parts of “500 Days.” There’s also the references to Bergman and Woody Allen and the appreciation of Ringo Starr and the dance scene…oh, sweet Moses, the dance scene. Without giving too much away, Webb takes an 80s pop song and uses it as the backdrop to one of the funniest dance scenes ever filmed. If there’s any justice in the world, it’ll be as memorable for the kids of this generation as Ferris Bueller’s “Twist and Shout” routine was for mine.
Webb, a popular music video director, creates a sweet and gorgeous universe for these two characters to exist in. Webb and his production crew deserve all the accolades they’re gonna get for this movie. Down to the very last detail, the look of “500 Days” shows just how much time and thought went into the production. Whoever was in charge of set design…no wait, I’m going to look it up. Jennifer Lukeheart, if somehow you end up reading this review, I just needed to tell you that you did a fantastic job.
Want to know something mind-blowingly awesome? The filmmakers aren’t seasoned vets with twenty years of filmmaking under their belts. They haven’t made ten lousy movies and just happened to get this one right. This is their first produced feature! That’s right – Marc Webb, Scott Neustadter, and Michael H. Weber just kicked the hell out of Hollywood their first time up.
“500 Days of Summer” is the best romantic comedy since “Love Actually.” (2003) There, I said it.