The Collegian
Saturday, July 04, 2020

Movie Review: (500) Days of Summer

Grade: A-

Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz and Matthew Gray Gubler.

Why it gets an A- :

Warning: This is a movie about real life. I know this because I've lived through it. In fact, at this point I could've written it myself. Who wants to see a romantic comedy about real life, you ask? Well, first off, it's not a comedy. Second, you'd be surprised at the number of single guys

and grannies hogging the stadium seating.

The film, which stars Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, deals with the dirty ending of a one-sided romance. Deschanel doesn't believe in love and Gordon-Levitt has lived his whole life in desperate pursuit of it. The characters -- so honest and normal -- are flawed, curious and carefree. They're young and experimental. They are suspiciously ... like me. Together, they create a romantic movie with genuine, stunted disappointments and quiet revelations that climaxes with a profound moment of clarification for the young lovers. Two ordinary people knotted together disentangle themselves and survive with their souls intact — a great premise for a Sundance film.

As is usually the case, romantic movies have been hit or miss this year. Travesties such as "Confessions of a Shopaholic," "Bride Wars" and "The Ugly Truth" were about as repulsive as the ditzy female characters that populated them, cluttering the screen with their intolerable cluelessness and screeches about love and sacrifice. Meanwhile, "He's Just Not That Into You" and "The Proposal" surprised me with their quirky, fresh takes on that crazy little thing called accidental love, and carried me away to idyllic Loveland. But "(500) Days of Summer" stranded me in Los Angeles, where the movie takes place, mesmerized by the quiet subtlety and power of a straightforward romance amidst a thousand convoluted ones.

Something so simple seems destined to fall flat on the big screen, but it doesn't. The light in Deschanel's eyes and the emotional limp the ordeal leaves Gordon-Levitt with, lifts the story up and manages to evade predictability. The film abstains from a conventional happy ending but gives the characters and audience closure -- the kind that can remain so elusive when a relationship falls apart.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at jordan.trippeer@richmond.edu

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