Dustin takes a look at the healing power of movies and how the film “(500) Days of Summer” serves as the perfect example of art imitating life.
In 2009, the film “(500) Days of Summer” opened and became the sleeper hit of the year, grossing $60 million against a $7.5 million budget, striking chords and pleasing audiences and critics alike. It seemed like just about everyone who watched it could relate to its’ story.
The film, told in a nonlinear structure, traces the relationship of sharply dressed greeting card writer Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his boss’ new assistant Summer (Zooey Deschanel).
In it, Summer consistently states that she doesn’t believe in the idea of love, a concept that Tom has believed in since he was young. As their relationship grows Tom believes he’s found the woman of his dreams and that Summer will eventually come around on her feelings about love.
Tom is then shocked when Summer leaves him, unable to understand why she doesn’t love him like he loves her, which is then compounded when attending a party she invites him to, he learns she’s engaged to another man. A man, she tells Tom, she loves.
What makes this a movie that rules is all of its’ different possible interpretations and appeal. Many identify with Tom and watch the movie thinking that Summer turns out to be cruel and unfair to the loving and doting Tom. Re-watching it can yield the opinion that maybe Tom is the unfair one who sees Summer solely how he wants to see the woman of his dreams, falling in love with the idea of what Summer represents to him as opposed to actually loving Summer.
It can also just be watched as a quirky romantic-comedy complete with elaborate and heartwarming dance sequences and a hipster sense of style about it.
But just watching it like that just doesn’t do justice to its’ simple power as a film. It’s so personal and easy to relate to that it can be a bit startling, but it does serve as a coping mechanism to those enduring any relationship problems or drama.
Whether you identify with Tom or with Summer, watching the film should be a requirement when facing the end of a relationship because these characters and this relationship is so realistic, down to the record store conversations about Ringo’s importance to the Beatles.
The soundtrack to the film also strikes all the right chords, in addition to the Smiths and the Pixies, it also features two songs by Regina Spektor, including the song “Hero,” which, is a part of what could be the greatest/most heartbreaking scene I’ve ever seen in film in terms of emotional impact.
It’s hard to write subjectively about this movie, I personally relate to it on deep levels and can fully admit it. Every time I watch it, I hope it ends differently but by the time the credits are rolling I’ve already accepted that it’s not a happy movie; it’s the tale of growth both personally and in relationships as well as the notion that true love is out there. Maybe you’ll come across one or two, or maybe even three Summers in the course of your life, those girls or guys that you feel completely understand you and that you love more than anything. Chances are, sometimes it just won’t work out and what makes “(500) Days of Summer” a movie that rules is it’s not a reminder that Summers can be cruel, but that Autumn’s always around the corner.
Dustin Brewer is co-owner of HefferBrew. He seriously considered a career in greeting card writing in the hopes of landing his own Zooey Deschanel, but alas, here he is instead. You can follow him on twitter @dstnbrwr