(500) Days of Summer is not your typical happily-ever-after romantic comedy. The film begins with a witty narration that exposes it to moviegoers as a simple story of boy meets girl.
The opening commentary also prepares you for the movie's ending by stressing that it is, by no means, a love story. So instead of wondering if things will work out in the end between Tom Hansen (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel), the suspense lies in finding out why things didn't work out when the two seem right for one another.
The film is a realistic and amusing portrayal of a boy in love with a girl who has completely different ideals and beliefs about love than he does.
Tom, who believes very strongly in the power of love, falls for Summer, an independent woman whose casual approach both repels her from getting involved in a relationship and misleads Tom. The chemistry between Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel is tangible throughout the film, allowing the audience to easily share their emotions.
The movie's unique style forces you to question your own beliefs on love, provoking and even changing previous conceptions. The charming quality about this film is that it doesn't allow for any Hollywood exaggerations on love affairs, yet it represents the recognizable truths known all-too-well in almost any relationship.
Director Marc Webb uses brilliant techniques to tickle your emotions, clearly stating the vast differences between expectations and reality, and the sad truth when reality prevails. Through a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, he displays the major changes in Tom's emotions that Summer all-too-easily affects.
The writing is ingenious, giving the movie a quirky charm with lines that will have the viewer's stomach in knots. The music chosen for the film also falls into place well among the various scenes.
Webb created a perfectly balanced array of humor and pain that will no doubt make the moviegoer walk out of the theater with an irrepressible grin and that warm-fuzzy feeling, even if it's not the ending they may have wanted. Somehow, this falling-out-of-love movie that touches on all of the unappealing sides of love - the confusion, the misunderstandings, the failures in a relationship - became the feel-good movie of the year.
An original approach, charming music and witty writing blend together in what is undoubtedly the best movie of the summer, and so far, the best movie of the year.