Saturday, September 19, 2009

Review: 500 days of Summer

This was our biggest demographic car-crash since we went to see Crossroads, a vehicle for Britney Spears (remember her?) where the rest of the audience was comprised of teenage girls. Why was the only showing of this film at 4.30 p.m. on a Saturday? That explains the almost empty cinema, but not that our fellow film-goers were girls a quarter of our age and their even younger brothers. I feel sure this is not the intended audience.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel

The New York Times review was excellent, applauding the rounded characterisation and real-life feel as Tom Hanson (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) at the Greeting Card company where they both work. The pitch is that Tom is the romantic, looking for his soul mate while Summer is just interested in no-entanglement fun. The 500 days chart the parabolic trajectory of their relationship. After the final crash-and-burn Summer has found happiness (with someone else) while there are glimmers of hope for Tom.

Telling you this is not a spoiler, because it’s announced at the very start of the film. The tale is told non-linearly and the interest is not in what happens but in how. The acting is excellent: Tom is a smart but overly-passive introvert, who hardly ever takes the initiative; Summer is more dominant, extravert and altogether classier. It’s obvious to the older part of the audience that Summer is way out of Tom’s league and that the affair is doomed.

A slight problem, perhaps a little embarrassing to mention, is Zooey Deschanel’s age. Gordon-Levitt, playing Tom, is a young 28; Zooey is nearly 30 and a few lines are beginning to show around the eyes. Doesn’t alter the fact that she’s basically gorgeous, but her time for playing hot young chicks is fast running out.

500 days of Zooey is perceptive and occasionally cringe-inducing in its dissection of young love. Our young audience in Andover especially and vocally loved the cringe-stuff.