Sunday, October 17, 2010

(500) Days of Summer

At first I wasn’t all too excited for (500) Days of Summer having been jaded by probably every rom-com to have come out in recent memory. You know the ones with the same plot staring the same actors again and again?

Sorry Vince Vaughn but I’m tired of staring at your ugly mug for an hour and a half.(What's with that mustache anyway?)Yet, (500) Days was a surprisingly refreshing detour from the cookie cutter formula that most of romantic comedies fall under. Released in 2009 and directed by relatively unproven music video director Marc Webb, the films stars Joseph Gordin-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.

The movie follows a failed relationship between Gordin-Levitt’s character Tom and Deschanel’s character Summer as a non-linear sequence of days during said relationship. The beginning of the film nods towards the idea that the films plot isn’t entirely based upon fiction reading “Any resemblance to people living or dead is purely coincidental ... Especially you, Jenny Beckman ... Bitch”. Writer Scott Neustadter later admitted that Bechman is from a former relationship of his. The writing of the movie is based upon this to a point.

The film through the relationship of Tom and Summer brings up the problems of memory when someone looks back to tell a narrative. 500 (Days) does this by playing scenes multiple times but with Tom analyzing the situation in a new light. Writing the film as a memory of days also allows it to show the conflict between Tom’s expectations and the reality he faces.

The final point the film brings into focus is the problem of knowing another mind. Since the movie is told solely through Tom’s point of view (as well as a third person narrator) a solipsistic relationship develops between Tom and Summer. This is limiting in the sense that we don’t get a clear picture of both sides of the relationship, and speaks to relationships between all people. This also raises the question if we can understand what writers and authors present to us as recipients of their work, since we cannot understand the authors intent.

A few things to think of while watching the film: How the role of memory affects the narrative is told as well as the content, whether solipsism actually creates a rift between author and reader (or in this case writer and watcher) or that this problem does not exist, and finally whether or not this movie succeeds in presenting a “real” representation of a relationship as it tries to do.

Finally here's a trailer for the movie:

No comments:

Post a Comment