I've been meaning to check out (500) Days of Summer for awhile, and the Lady and I finally received it via Netflix last week. We watched it instead of watching the end of the Golden Globes, and it was pretty decent. I've pretty much always liked Zooey Deschanel, ever since I saw her in Mumford. I liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt when he was on 3rd Rock from the Sun, and I also liked him in Brick, so I'm enjoying his current rise to prominence.
Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt) works for a greeting card company. When Summer Finn (Deschanel) starts working there, he develops a crush, and they strike up a relationship. Unfortunately, she doesn't believe in love, and he's falling head over heels into it for her. Told in a Tarantino-esque disorganized fashion, jumping around between the beginning, middle, and end of their 500 days, s he realizes he may have over-romanticized their relationship, and comes to grips with reality versus expectation.
It's a very cute movie, and surprisingly funny. Gordon-Levitt swings wildly between hopeless romantic, heartbroken cynic, exhausted by his lost love, nearly insane from it, and darkly humorous. Zooey is adorable, finicky, and engaging. There's a musical number where Tom sings and dances in the street with passersby in a perfectly synchronized "random dance" sequence. There's even an animated bluebird. The scenes where his younger sister (played by Chloe Moretz) are precious and amusing, where her 12-year-old character dispenses more intelligent advice than his loser friends (and yeah, he seems to only have these two guys for friends). It has a good, moderately happy ending (where the main character quits his crappy job and starts pursuing architecture more seriously), all thanks to the crazy relationship he just got out of.
The costumes and production design was amazing, as well. The story bounced around between the days, always with an intertitle listing the day, and showing a summery-looking scene at the beginning, and a dreary wintery scene in the relationship's decline. In an especially affecting shot, the world around Tom washes out from the real world to a smudgy drawing to nothing but stained paper, with his silhouette remaining in the center of the frame, casting a lonely shadow.
I liked it, it was cute, funny, and despite the wacky musical number and an especially interesting scene showing the side-by-side "reality" and "expectation" of a party, the characters are pretty realistic. It's not really a chick flick, because Gordon-Levitt is so entertaining and Deschanel is just so damn cute. It's also not a bad romance, either. It's not like "Autumn in New York," it's more like "When Harry Met Sally," just with a different kind of nice ending.
I give it four depressed greeting card writers out of five, or four adorable bows in Deschanel's hair out of five.