(500) Days of Summer (2009)

Genre: Romance, Drama

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Chloë Grace Moretz

Synopsis: A film chronicling the life and death of a relationship with hipster queen Zooey Deschanel.

Relationships are a funny thing. They can put you at the top of the world or kick you square in the nuts/lady garden. I’ve never been one for romantic comedies or any kind of film in which a man meets a girl and they have superficial conflict thrown into their lives but then they overcome it and live happily ever after. It’s not what happens in real life. That’s why I quite like this movie: it at least attempts to be realistic. I’ve been meaning to watch this for a while and last weekend I was in the perfect mood for it. I took quite a lot away from it and found a new perspective. I’ll explain what I mean so just bear with me.

One thing I really like about this movie is the cinematography. I hope people understand what I mean when I say that the film has an architectural and almost geometric feel to it. The shots in this movie are very clean and stylized and at times it can feel like a greeting card or postcard: little snapshots of bliss mixed in with the grey of everyday life. The scenes are beautifully shot but the quality of it and the maturity progresses throughout. The greeting card fun of it all becomes more complex and we begin to see more honest instances of affection and beauty. The two that come to mind are the scene where JGL and Deschanel are on a train and the sun’s setting outside the window just beyond the Pacific Ocean and the scene where JGL attends a rooftop party and faces the crushing reality of his situation. The cinematography ‘grows up,’ in a way, and this reflects JGL’s character and his journey from greeting card writer to architect. His perspective on life and love changes in the film and the cinematography reflects this.

Scott Neustadter, the co-writer, has said that this film is based on a real-life relationship of his and I think it really shows. This movie is written and made by people who get what it’s like to be young and in love and have it all come crashing down. As such, it can become quite a difficult film to watch because you can use it as a tool to look at your past relationships and assess who you were in each failed relationship: were you Summer or JGL? I’ve been both. In my most recent relationship, I was JGL. The relationship ended quite badly and now I don’t know where we stand. It has been hard dealing with that uncertainty and trying to figure out how someone you cared about can treat you so badly. However, watching JGL go through all the horrors of a bad relationship and a loathsome job has helped me. He learns from his relationship with Summer and I want to learn from my relationships and use those lessons for my betterment. I want to move forward and improve and I know I can do it; I just need to grow up and aim for what I want.

One thing I don’t get about this film though is how anyone can turn JGL down. THE MAN IS BEAUTIFUL!!! Readers may already know about my love of him through my GI: Joe review (sorry, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little by mentioning that film). If he was at my office making bad sexual puns I would be all over that right then and there, in the office. I don’t care if people are watching. Marry me JGL. I want to have racially ambiguous babies with you. That is all.


  • Wonderful cinematography and beautiful shots of LA. This is the LA that I love. It has its moments of beauty too.
  • Great soundtrack.
  • It’s not easy to know who’s to blame in this relationship: he was clingy and didn’t listen to her when she said she didn’t want a relationship but she handled their interaction the wrong way. They’re both as bad as each other. I like that idea.
  • Those cat cards would be so popular. I know they make it seem like it’s a lame idea but everyone loves cats. I mean, that’s what the internet was made for. Cat worship!


  • There are some really depressing scenes.
  • I will never be able to draw like that and why isn’t my apartment that sexy?


Your ability to like this film will be directly proportional to your tolerance of hipster goddess Zooey Deschanel. I like her so I’m fine but one of my friends wants to punch her so I can’t imagine her becoming enamored this film. It’s not a film for everyone but definitely worth the watch. I would recommend watching this after smoking something that will boost your senses. That way you can really appreciate the cinematography. I watched this with a friend so I couldn’t cry into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s without losing my dignity. That might be the best way to go also. Make sure you watch this at a time when you’re ready to look back at your relationships and get a better understanding of them otherwise you may misinterpret the film, in the way JGL does with The Graduate. This isn’t a sad film, just an honest and encouraging one. It’s a coming of age story, not a rom-com.




Filed under Drama, Great, Romance

7 responses to “(500) Days of Summer (2009)

  1. Oops – sorry for last reply. Great review. 🙂 I love this movie. I loved JGL in it. My hubby HATED Summer SO much!!! Never seen him get so angry at a film. I loved it because it’s such a REAL relationship. And, yeah – I want her apartment! But I don’t want to be her. Because she was a BITCH to such a sweet boy! Lol. He’s way too young for me but I really wanted to give him a hug…

    • Thanks, when you wrote this I was actually writing a reply asking what GR meant. Glad we got that cleared up.

      I’m not sure either of them are that admirable in the film because they’re both messed up in their own ways but I’m sure I could get past that in JGL’s case. I’ve never seen someone look so good in a sweater vest before.

      • It was GR – Summer’s a bitch! 😉

        Yeah, I kept pointing out to hubby that Summer said she didn’t want a relationship but he still blamed her. And I’d have to say Sixteen Candles Jake Ryan also rocks the sweater vest look. 🙂

  2. I mainly loved this film because it was so qUIRky………everything about Zooey Deschanel is just so qUIRky

  3. davecrewe

    This film didn’t work for me. I liked lots of elements of it (the “expectations” vs “reality” scene was just perfect) but many didn’t fit together for me, and on the whole I couldn’t engage with the plot because of so many failed elements. In particular, it suggested that it was going for a non-linear narrative (day X! day Y! out of 500) and mostly did nothing with it, and most of the peripheral characters were stereotypical and blah (like Abigail Breslin’s undercooked character).

    I think there’s a really really great film here, it’s just mixed in with 5 or 6 average ones.

  4. Pingback: Celeste and Jesse Forever (2011) | bakedmoviereviews

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