8:00 PM, 19th February, 2010
When hopeless romantic Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt) meets Summer Finn (Deschanel), a girl who doesn’t believe in love, he immediately but inexplicably falls for her. At first the feeling seems mutual, but as their relationship progresses Tom is forced to face the reality of their differing dispositions.
Eschewing the usual will-they-won’t-they theatrics, first-time director Webb starts the film at the beginning of the end: Summer has just ended the relationship, and broken Tom’s heart. Over the next hour and a half, we are taken back and forth through an assortment of days as Tom re-examines the relationship from the beginning. Moments of pure elation – a trip to Ikea and a musical number set to Hall & Oates’s “You Make My Dreams” are highlights – are juxtaposed with scenes of shattering depression as it begins to dawn on Tom that Summer may have been right about love all along.
Gordon-Levitt truly comes into his own as a leading man here, demonstrating a gravitas and charisma unmatched by fellow actors of his generation, making himself definitely one to watch. Deschanel, captivating as always, is given a somewhat tougher role to play as the girl Tom can’t help but love. You want to hate her for all she’s done, but she somehow makes it hard to.
Forget the standard studio-fuelled rom-com shtick: bitingly poignant and truly romantic in every sense of the word, with equal parts glee and heartbreak thrown in for good measure, (500) Days Of Summer is a rare gem of a film that you simply have to experience firsthand.
9:50 PM, 19th February, 2010
Adam (Dancy) is a rather introverted, awkward, childlike engineer with a passion for astronomy. Beth (Byrne) is a teacher at a very good school, who moves in across the hall from Adam’s New York apartment. This is a rom-com of sorts, so it follows the formula: they meet, they hit it off and there are difficulties; but not the usual relatively trivial ones, something is not right in a big way.
Beth has issues: she’s just out of a bad relationship, and she has family baggage as well, but this movie is of course really about Adam. He has vastly greater problems: the basics of life are difficult enough for him. The ghastly, messy complexities of romance are an order of magnitude more challenging.
The movie follows the development of their relationship and the difficulties they have and does so with great sensitivity and realism, testified to by people who really know what it’s like to be like Adam. Come along and find out, whether or not you’ve worked out what I’ve deliberately avoided spelling out. This movie is warm-hearted, funny and even cringingly embarrassing. More than that however, it is very real, more so than the usual romantic comedy. That as much as anything is what makes this movie worth seeing.