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Tag Archives: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
500 Days of Summer neither captivated me nor bored me. It just sort of drifted listlessly forward, occasionally bumping into clichés, sometimes managing to subvert them, but mostly just letting the romantic comedy current carry it along. In many ways it shared the characteristics of its female lead – quirky enough to pique your interest, but without a great deal of substance beneath the carefree, offbeat exterior.
That isn’t to say the movie does not have its strong points. I am a sucker for non-linear editing, and this movie employed it admirably. The countdown clock that jumped back and forth showing us where exactly where we were in the timeline was a nice addition, and it helped to perfectly line up some of the film’s well-crafted echoes. The expectation/reality split screen is a particular creative touch, and one I expect to be both emulated and parodied by future works. Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel performed their roles well. And hey (minor spoiler alert) the fact that the main couple does not end up together – though it’s been done before – is almost always a plus in films trying to turn the romantic comedy formula on its head.
At the same time, much of this original or unusual framing in the film felt fairly gimmicky, without much substance to back it up. No, the movie did not follow the usual romantic comedy formula, but it didn’t truly innovate much either. It takes more than a dose of bittersweet and inventive editing to truly subvert the usual and expected when it comes to a boy-meets-girl story. Summer Finn may be “just a phase,” but she also feels like a walking trope adorned with a few shiny ornaments to distract you from that fact. The entire film seems aimed at picking out as many tricks as possible to cloak its fairly run-of-the-mill tale in the guise of something greater.