Told in brilliantly written non-linear clumps, (500) Days of Summer is more of a falling-out-of-love story than a traditional tale of boy-meets-girl and they struggle but live happily ever after.
Most love stories are puffed-up, predictable twaddle that lack character depth and honest emotion. (500) Days of Summer starts with narrator Richard McGonagle — who does a lot of books on tape and CD — dispassionately and matter-of-factly telling the story of a young couple in tantalizing bits and pieces. He jumbles up the 500 days and rolls them out like dice.
The movie comes up lucky 7s. It is real life young-love with a comic twist and two exceptional performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (TV’s Third Rock from the Sun) and Hollywood’s new deadpan queen Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man).
He’s Tom. She’s Summer. He’s a hopeless romantic who believes in love. She doesn’t. In her mind, you’re together, then you’re not. Levitt, whose post-TV kid career has taken interesting twists, is the perfect goofy 20-something unable to believe the luck of landing Deschanel, who has perfected the art of melding the callous total babe with the clueless girl-next-door.
Writers Scott Neustandter and Micheal H. Weber (The Pink Panther 2) and music-video-turned-movie director Marc Webb and these two great young actors hook you. When they hurt, you hurt. And you really hurt. One scene has one of the characters dropping a big bomb on the other. Your stomach drops. You actually feel their pain. Deeply.
The film drains you, and you will feel like you’ve done 500 days with Summer, too. But it’s a good drain, and they were a good 500 days.
Relationship movies rarely do that.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens Friday, August 14 at the Carmike 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.