(500) Days of Summerby Robert Wilonsky
Seemingly similar to most factory-made romantic comedies, the first feature by former music-video director Marc Webb is actually far less interested in the will they or won't they and more concerned with the why can't they. Its lovers — Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) — are perfect for each other, yet are perhaps still not meant to be. He is forever in search of his soulmate, influenced by too much mid-'80s Britpop and an incorrect reading of The Graduate's finale. She insists that she's looking only for a commitment-free good time, no doubt the result of a childhood spent being the object of everyone's affection. The director introduces us to Tom and Summer mid-breakup, then takes us back to the moment when they shared their first glance, then back-and-forth and back-and-forth and beyond till each glimpse is recontextualized and thus reconsidered. Very Sundance-y. But the real surprise of (500) Days of Summer isn't the presentation. It's more like a love story in a blender. What is unexpected is the sincerity beneath the modest conceit that, yup, love hurts.