Sundance 2009 Review: Marc Webb's 500 Days of Summer
by Alex Billington
January 18, 2009
There was a magical feeling in the air when I sat down in Eccles to watch the world premiere of Marc Webb's 500 Days of Summer. As the lights dimmed, a chill went down my spine, as I somehow knew I was about to watch a phenomenal film. There are always outstanding indie gems like this at Sundance every year, but it's even more amazing to set high expectations have them still be surpassed. 500 Days of Summer did just that - it took everything I was hoping this would be and gave me so much more. Unless something else comes along by surprise in the next few days, this will easily be my favorite film of the festival.
500 Days of Summer is not a love story. If anything, it's more than just a love story, it's a look at life and love told in an offbeat way that remarkably we can all inherently understand. This is a story about a woman named Summer (Zooey Deschanel) who doesn't believe true love exists, and the young man named Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls for her. Webb fragments the 500 days that Tom and Summer spend together by showing us pieces at a time, out of order, and using title cards to identify which day (out of 500) it is we're seeing. It starts at end, jumps to the beginning, then shows us nearly every moment in between.
I thought I had seen everything in the way of relationship comedies, but obviously not. It's an immense challenge to be able to make a new indie comedy that succeeds past the numerous classics in the genre, but the script from newcomers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber and the direction from Marc Webb did push those boundaries. It's Webb's wonderful shooting style and his use of the greatest music selection I've heard in the last 12 months that gives 500 Days of Summer the edge it needed to stand out. There are so many wonderful moments in 500 Days of Summer, that it is truly impossible not to fall in love with it.
There was a moment where the music switched to a score instead of a pop rock track and the laughter had settled. And I sat there, awe-struck, realizing that it had flawlessly floated across the line between being a light-hearted comedy and a sensible and emotional romance without as much as a hiccup. As the scene continued and just as tears began to well up in my eyes, it picked back up with some humor. It's that impeccable mesh of laugh-out-loud comedy and utterly realistic storytelling that made this the film that I've come to love the most at Sundance. 500 Days of Summer is a wonderful, must see, authentic indie gem.
Sundance Rating: 10 out of 10
Reader Feedback - 11 Comments
It's going to be a long, long wait until July 24th for the rest of us. Suppose I'll just keep watching the teaser over and over, and over and over until then.
Brandon Lee Tenney on Jan 18, 2009
I saw the trailer for this and it peaked my interest in this film and with this review I am going to see this movie opening day when it comes out in Wide Release. This sounds like the Greatest Romantic Comedy of all time and with the most recent romantic comedies being completely horrible this one sounds like it can knock everything out of the park.
moviefan553 on Jan 18, 2009
yay, Zooey! I'm so happy that there's a good romantic comedy type of movie coming out. it's gonna be a long wait though
-Peter- on Jan 18, 2009
Nice! I really enjoy both of these actors, can't wait to see it. Great site, btw.
brett weber on Jan 18, 2009
Awesome! Let's get it in theaters already! Any word on when its coming out?
DinoChow on Jan 18, 2009
Ahh good! I have equal if expectations for this film as well, Alex. I'm glad it turned out to be as golden as it seems. I just hope they don't give away too many clips online. I wanna have a blank palette walking into the theatre. This 'teaser' is all we need honestly. If someone doesn't get sucked into the trailer, I'd really need to hear an explanation why. This will walk away with some awards for sure!
Nick Sears on Jan 19, 2009
This looks like one of those films that I would get really, really bored watching, could be wrong tho. I'll do a streaming Netflix on it someday.
Richard on Jan 19, 2009
i want to watch this now!! why can't it be june already? i wish i could have go to Sundance myself, i adore Zooey!
F.C. on Jan 19, 2009
Looks great, but Alex...are you and Peter connected to the hip? Or do you guys just agree on almost everything.
D.A.M on Jan 19, 2009
This was the last Sundance movie I watched this year. It was the best movie I have seen in quite a while. I can't wait for it to hit theaters because I will go see it again. I missed large portions of the movie because the audience was laughing so loudly and for so long. Great film!
Charlotte on Jan 26, 2009
OMG wow this film looks FUCKIN AMAZEING!! I loved garden state, eternal sunshine, and juno, and this film feels like all of them at once and more. Can`t wait to see it!!!!!!!!!!!!
www.buddhistwisdom7 on Mar 6, 2009
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