08 September 2009

500 Days of Summer


URBAN: Very Charming and whitty for this type of film. Features the soundtrack too much.

Marc Webb delivers a film that is touching, artistic, and funny by turns. Hard to get out of your mind for many reasons.

URBAN: While I have mentioned in reviews before that I appreciate the Apatow committment to realism,,, in all of its gory detail, it is interesting to note that the characters in those films nearly always complete the relationship, even if they do so in imperfect ways.

This film goes in a different direction, veering away from the realism in its portrayal of relationship, but ultimately, it finds its way there by denying the viewer what he/she has come to expect from romantic comedies.

500 Days of Summer deals with the relationship of the title character (a lovely Zooey Deschanel) and the leading everyman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The film portrays there relationship, not in linear style, but by jumping back and forth between the days that their relationship contains,,,, all 500 of them.

To break up the act of breaking up the ebb and flow of this relationship, the director puts his best foot forward. The post-coital morning after routine and the references to The Graduate (both verbal and visual) stand out, but the film took a turn for the amazing when it transformed into a 45 second salute to the heroes of cinema. In one sequence, the character, in the pain of breakup, dreams himself into the great films of Godard (in New Wave style) and Bergman (from The 7 Seals). They throw the story into a realm usually not reserved for romantic comedies. To be honest, these films seriously reminded me Woody Allen at his best as a director of romantic comedy. Besides the obvious Annie Hall comparison, I think that there is a direct correlation between this and one of my personal favorites, the underrated Play It Again, Sam which displays an imperfect relationship in a non-linear sequence, that also makes great reference to films of the past, both emotionally, and to provide interpretation for character motive.

Also, did I mention it is only 1 1/2 hours long?

The only real area where there were shortcomings was in the reliance on the soundtrack. I honestly noticed this from the opening credits, which really only serve as an excuse to play some great music. The overflow of great music dominates the film in ways that could have been played out more subtlely without a score. The best example of this is to compare the use of score to the narration that the film contains. The narration in this film adds to the film, to help the viewer understand the action, but never enough that one feels the narration is essential or that the action is less for not having it around constantly. I felt that the scene in day 500 really needed music after hearing it constantly punctuate and color most of the other important parts of the film.

This film is filled with clever allusion and artistry in the way that it portrays the story. The issue with the music is a problem of abundance, rather than scarcity, and should not take away from a film that is probably the best romantic comedy of the year.

URBAN: Recommended

4 comments:

  1. I still have not seen this film and it's getting more and more ubiquitous. Before the week is out...

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  2. Thanks for the comment and good luck, I know that it was an independent release and had a tough time making it into a whole bunch of theaters. Interesting, especially since so much other garbage (The Ugly Truth, The Proposal) in the form of romantic comedies did garner a wide release.

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  3. I heard a lot of great reviews about this one before going to see it. I thought it was ok, though it did have its moments. I think you have an interesting take on it, nice job!

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