It may seem to make sense to classify (500) Days of Summer as a romantic comedy, but that would do the film a disservice. It breaks the standard rom-com convention of “boy gets girl” with the honest realization that idealic romance isn’t always meant to be, but that’s no reason to not believe in love.
Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber’s screenplay is a clever exhibition of non-linear storytelling, and despite the use of some humourous gimmicks, the story never loses its sincerity. This is very much thanks to the performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose laid-back innocence and childlike disillusionment evoke much sympathy and attachment from the audience. Unfortunately for Zooey Deschanel, her character is underexposed, which seems to be the filmmakers’ intention, but with the consequence that her performance – while airy and charming enough – fails to really connect.
Director Marc Webb’s wide range of visual aptitude comes in handy for revealing the moods and paradigms of Gordon-Levitt’s character, and the delicate music of Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen rounds out a soundtrack already filled with a fine collection of alternative tunes.
I can see a nomination for Best Original Screenplay, but only if Searchlight executes a very focused FYC campaign. They’ll need it to get this little gem of a movie the exposure it needs to score with AMPAS.
***1/2 out of ****