And, it’s started.

Obviously, writing these will take some time to get used to.  With this one, being that this is the second time I’ve seen it, I can more readily write things down quickly.  For other movies, like ones in theaters or DVDs that I’ve owned and never watched, I will require more time to digest them.

But, for now, let’s get right into this.

Oh, before I begin, I’ll do two things: one, find a trailer, and two, quick possibly spoil the film.  You’ve been warned about the latter, so if you haven’t seen this, stop reading, go rent the movie (or borrow off of me since, you know, I won’t be watching it in a while), and then read what my thoughts are (or, actually just as good, write your own).

Also note: these write ups will be quite unorthodox (which I discovered after writing the following about the movie).  Again, you’ve been warned.

Ready?  Good.

I suppose I can start with the character of Summer (she is in the title of the movie after all), which, while she’s not too particularly well developed, actually works in other ways for the character of Tom.  The main problem with her is that all we ever see of her is when she’s with Tom.  As such, we know Summer through how Tom views her.  The non-linear storyline jumps around from early to later in the relationship showing the good, the bad, and the ugly of Summer, which, if I’m right, shows she’s a nice, outgoing and engaging young woman (good), is highly non-date able (bad), and, well, the same applies to ugly.  So, it seems that there is only two aspects of the character.  She’s honest though, which is a good thing: she says from the start of this doomed relationship that she doesn’t really care for relationships, hates labels, and enjoys having as much fun as possible, which, in the year 2010, seems to be the set up for many young hipster type relationships nowadays.  As it stands, given the two traits she has, she comes off more as a flat character than intended, which brings the film down slightly.  If the film split its time between her and Tom, she’d be more well-rounded.  Blame the script, in essence.

And yet, don’t blame the script.  Still with me?  The story itself is set and revolves around Tom, not Summer.  Well, it’s set around both, but this is Tom’s story, in which he finds love, or what he perceives to be love, mingles and dances with it, finds a false happiness, and then, through a realization of the failed relationship, begins his life anew.  Summer is his drive, and he’ll do anything to get her to be with him, but he’s also too late in that regard.  Only towards the end of the movie (and the overarching relationship with Summer) does Tom begin to realize that what he’s been doing is false, and so he sets out to do the thing he wants to do the most: for him, he likes to draw architecture (it’s what he went to school for in the first place).

Yes, Summer is a plot device, but a lovely plot device about the hopes and dreams and failed expectations of a relationship that was doomed from the start.  Get beyond this slight, and you have a wonderfully enjoyable film.

And it is quite enjoyable.  The movie, non-linear as it is, jumps back and forth through different aspects of the relationship, from beginning to end to back again, setting Tom up for dread and misery and rebuild.  It’s completely bereft of the everyday cliches found in practically every other romantic comedy, simply because this can be a real life romance.  Rom-coms follow a simple, yet dreadfully unoriginal formula that’s worked for ages: man meets woman (or reverse), they hate each other from day one, they’re forced to spend time together that neither cares for, they acknowledge the character flaws between themselves and each other, and find that, hey, we actually like each other, then end up together in the end (though with the prerequisite of having to break up at least once through a misunderstanding).  Simple, popular, consistently works, yet boring and predictable.

(500) Days, thankfully, aspires to be more.  When I originally saw this, I had the expectation of Tom actually succeeding and getting back with Summer.  Yet it didn’t happen.  Summer meets someone else, gets the feeling that Tom describes to her early on about “knowing love when you feel it”, and gets married (surprisingly quick too: between breakup and Tom’s rebuilding, it’s only 200 days, or a little over six months to meet someone, get engaged, and get married).  I was sad, no doubt, since Tom is a likable guy.  I wanted him to succeed, and yet he didn’t.  Not until he changed himself, but, like I said, it was far too late.  He changed, but he couldn’t with Summer.  She found someone else, someone who, as she said so bluntly to Tom, was everything that he wasn’t.

Therein lies the greatest aspect of this movie: that it aspires to show something more real than what is normally seen in movies.  By and large, it succeeds.  Well, no one will get to have their own dance number sequence after the first night in bed together (which is by far the best dance number montage in recent memory and one of the best scenes in the movie itself), but still, it succeeds because it feels like life itself, which is quite refreshing and, unfortunately, sucks sometimes too.

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