(500) Days of Summer is an anti-love story.
Well, it certainly isn’t conventional, but we begin with Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who works at a greetings card company trying to come up with new holidays to celebrate, but really he trained to be an architect. It’s like a lot of people in life – they just can’t get a job following their dream. One day, Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) enters his life as a secretary at the firm.
It’s difficult to go into much detail about the film without giving too much away, but it’s safe to say that we see them break up, get back together, we see their first meeting; there’s a great moment when Tom sputters his drink when Summer says that at college she used to be called “Anal Girl”, only for her to reveal that it’s because she was very neat and organised… and, finally, we see how Tom over-analyses every moment he gets to spend with Summer and how that translates into her liking him or just not being at all interested in him. Note to all women reading: Us blokes DO do this. And don’t worry – it drives us insane because we can’t work you out either! 😉
At first it seems odd that the 500 days are told in seemingly-random order, but it does come together to tell a tale in a brilliant way as you try to see whether the pair will stay the course.
Other random observations: The sets have a 1950s tinge to them, even though it’s set in the present day; and it features one of my favourite Smiths songs, Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want. The supporting cast is mainly Tom’s older-than-her-years sister Rachel (Chloe Moretz), his colleague McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend) and best friend Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler).
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio and makes excellent use of the width when it comes to framing what you see. It’s also shot in Super 35 so would make to a relatively trouble-free transition to 16:9 when it gets shown on TV, although hopefully it’ll be shown on Channel 4 where they actually show films properly. chases and explosions. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen with a Samsung BDP1500 player.
The sound comes in DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio Lossless, DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 formats. Listening in DTS 5.1, it was perfectly fine for music and dialogue – which is what it mostly consists of, as it’s certainly not a special FX movie.
The extras are as follows:
- Deleted and Extended scenes (14:42): 9 of them here, in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, which also introduces Tom’s mum, Sarah (Jennifer Hetrick) and her new partner Martin.
I also liked the inclusion of an extension to the scene following from a party, late on in the film, which obviously I can’t describe here but you’ll know it when you do. Another favourite was one involving an alternate version of that scene which featured Hall & Oates’ “You Make Me Dreams Come True”, which I’d really like to have seen included back in the film. Either way, it’s great to see it here.
- Bank Dance directed by Mark Webb (4:18): A bizarre but engaging dance scene involving the two leads, in a bank. Clearly filmed in 4:3, but then slightly vertically-squeezed, which seems a bit odd. In fact, this also happens with the music video and ‘conversations’ segment. Why?
- Mean’s Cinemash: “Sid and Nancy/(500) Days of Summer” (3:28): The former gets referenced in this film, and the two leads in this film play the two leads in that. This is the second of two really inventive extras.
- Music video: The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition (4:01): One of the main tunes in the film.
- Conversations with Zooey and Joseph (12:26): The pair of them talking about various aspects of the film between themselves. This goes on for quite a while and does get a bit boring after a while.
- Audio descriptive track: Does what it says on the tin.
The main menu features theme music from the film with footage of the two leads in the film. There are subtitles in several different languages – although oddly these appear where the characters are positioned which is somewhat distracting; and there are 24 chapters to the film which is generally perfectly fine, although oddly, one hasn’t been set aside for the closing credits.
Also, note that the film itself is a 12-cert, but the content of the extras bumps the whole package up to a 15-cert, presumably due to the swearing.
Running time: 95 minutes
Cat no: 3865007001
Released: January 2010
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio Lossless, Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English for hearing impaired, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Marc Webb
Producers: Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters and Steven J Wolfe
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber
Music: Mychael Danna and Rob Simonsen
Tom Hansen: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Summer Finn: Zooey Deschanel
McKenzie: Geoffrey Arend
Rachel Hansen: Chloë Grace Moretz
Paul: Matthew Gray Gubler
Vance: Clark Gregg
Millie: Patricia Belcher
Alison: Rachel Boston
Girl at interview: Minka Kelly
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.