Review: (500) Days of Summer (2009)

500 days of summer poster

“Do you ever do this, you think back on all the times you’ve had with someone and you just replay it in your head over and over again and you look for those first signs of trouble?”
– Tom Hansen

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an optimist and a believer in true love. He dreamed of becoming an architect and instead ended up working in a greeting card company in Los Angeles as a writer. His life is changed when he meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). For him it is love at first site. She is gorgeous and funny and smart. She is his dream girl. Tom starts obsessing over Summer, and eventually manages to strike up a conversation with her. After a pleasant night out at karaoke, Tom’s friend and co-worker McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) let’s Summer in on how much Tom likes her. Summer tells Tom that she is not looking for a relationship and thinks true love is ridiculous.

500 days of summer tom and summer start dating
“I love how she makes me feel, like anything’s possible, or like life is worth it.” – Tom

However, Summer kisses Tom at work one day, and soon they start to see more of each other, though they aren’t labelling it anything as of yet. Tom falls madly in love with Summer, and the two seem to get along fantastically. Tom seems to be walking on water, and his life seems like a movie. However, after seeing each other for a while, Tom gets into a bar fight with a guy hitting on Summer, and they fight. Their relationship seems broken, and Tom accuses Summer of all sorts of things, among them that she cannot call them friends and still kiss him and sleep with him. They patch things up, but as time moves on the cracks rip into their relationship. Eventually they break up after watching The Graduate, a film depicting what Tom sees as true love. He is devastated, and his life falls apart around his ears. Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler) and McKenzie call Rachel (Chloë Grace Moretz), Tom’s younger sister, to come and get his head back on straight. He is drinking, he is catatonic, and he is distraught.

500 days of summer cracks
“I love her smile. I love her hair. I love her knees. I love how she licks her lips before she talks. I love her heart-shaped birthmark on her neck. I love it when she sleeps.” – Tom

Tom soon starts to try and put his life back together, but it seems useless without Summer. His work, which had flourished while he was with Summer, has become dark and depressing, and they have shifted him into the condolences department. Summer seems to be moving on. At a mutual wedding they attend, Summer and Tom spend some time together, and everything is great. She invites him to a party at her home, and Tom is sure that they will fix up everything that was wrong in their past. Filled with hope and anticipation, he arrives at her apartment and finds that his expectations vs reality were two totally different ideas. His quiet little evening with her really is a party, and his dreams of a reconciliation are shattered when he realises he is actually attending her engagement party. He is crushed and leaves immediately, and his life slips into further decay when he goes as far as to quit his job.

“People don’t realize this, but loneliness is underrated.” – Tom

Was this entire journey what Tom needed to find himself? Will he get a job in architecture now that he is not messing around with the silly writing at a firm he was not destined to be at? Does Tom still believe in true love, or has Summer tainted that for him forever? Will Summer get married to her unknown man, or will she return to Tom? What will happen now that the two of them seem to be moving on different trajectories? Will Tom flounder of flourish now that he is loveless and jobless?

500 days of summer breakup
“We’ve been like Sid and Nancy for months now.” – Summer

An 8/10 for (500) Days of Summer. This movie was so cute and fun but not overbearingly so. Zooey Deschanel truly is absolutely gorgeous and was thus very well suited for her role. I enjoyed Matthew Gray Gubler, he is always the awkward and funny one and he certainly didn’t disappoint here. This movie really managed to get parts or a breakup down right and did it in a hilarious way, as well as how awesome everything is when things are going well. The little dance scene was excellent when Tom was on his way to work. His enthusiasm was palpable. The chemistry between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel was just what the movie needed, and truly sold the concept. I really, really enjoyed this movie, and what I like is how just about everyone else I have met that has seen it (men and women alike), admits that it is worth looking into. Plenty of my fellow bloggers who are male enjoyed it too, so as a guy you won’t feel ashamed about watching it, and seeing as it isn’t soppy, you may very well appreciate it. I felt this was a lot more fresh and realistic than your average romantic flick, and had the good times and the bad times involved. I really loved how it was shot, and that it was nonlinear narrative, it gave something new and fresh to the film, and it was nice to jump between the good and the bad, the funny and the sad. It had a solid cast that carried everything that was going on, and I thought Mark Webb worked wonders with this.

39 thoughts on “Review: (500) Days of Summer (2009)

  1. great review Zoe!

    This has been on my re-watch list for months and just haven’t gotten around to it.

    I love JGL in everything he does and ZD is also great here.

    I also loved the non-linearity of this movie. I agree with you that it adds a very fresh twist to a love story and it kept making me wish to know more and more about filling in the gaps in the relationship


    1. Thanks Rob!

      Ah, it will be worth it when you find the time for it.

      They worked so well together, I really liked it!

      Exactly! And it was nice that it didn’t give you the overly conventional progression of a Hollywood film relationship.


    1. Thanks Chris! It was quirky and fun, and there were times where it seemed it could go all wrong, but Webb kept it moving well and paced it nicely. It really was an absolute blast!


  2. Great review Zoe. I don’t normally go for romantic-comedies but this was a little gem of a film. I watched it recently after years of avoiding it and I’m glad I finally gave it a chance. Wonderful!


    1. Thanks Mark! I can completely agree with you on that front, they are usually silly films and a waste of time. I remember your review, you were rather fond of it, which is great!


  3. One of my absolutely favourite “alternative” love stories. I actually bought it as a gift for my now husband for our first Valentines Day together. I think it just confirms what my best friend’s mom always used to say to us when we’d just been dumped, “the right person at the wrong time is still the wrong person.”


  4. I’ve been meaning to go back and re-watch this one for a while. It’s such a fantastic film with two of the most charming actors in the business right now. Really solid film, great review Zoe!


  5. I liked this movie and have been surprised at the nasty backlash against it. I know a lot of people who hate it, especially Zooey Deschanel. I think it’s an energetic movie that mostly works, but it’s been targeted for its “manic pixie dream girl” by a lot of people. I’m glad you enjoyed it.


    1. Thanks Dan! Wow, those are some rough and harsh things to be said against it! It was a lot of fun and had realistic downer bits. My best friend was thoroughly depressed by the end of it, so she is not the world’s biggest fan either, which surprised me. I thought of everyone she would enjoy it the most!


  6. One thing I love about this movie and your pictures and gifs further illustrate that point, the dialogue. I will admit I never truly, absolutely loved this movie at first, but it’s one of those movies that after marinating a while gets better. It’s totally quotable and funny, when you look at in retrospect. So it is def worth watching again!

    Good review.


    1. Thanks a lot. The quotes that really cracked me up was when he spoke about all the things he loved about her, including the heart shaped birth mark, and how it later devolved to a cockroach shaped one. Truly, the longer you think on it the more charming it becomes.


  7. Good stuff, Zoe!! I only watched this because you were and since you wouldn’t let me inside, I didn’t hear any of the dialogue : (

    : )


  8. Nice review, Zoe! As far as rom coms go, this is definitely one of the better ones. Haven’t seen it in ages though. I need a rewatch! P.S. I’m digging that gif. 🙂


    1. Thanks Cara! This is definitely not in the same class as the rest, and sets itself apart, which is awesome. You should totally check it out again! LOL thanks, I love it!


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