I think (500) Days of Summer
is a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing.
DO NOT continue reading, if you don't want to know the plot!
In the beginning, the narrator tells us it's not a love story. And it's not. It's not a lasting love story between the two main characters because—I'll just go ahead and tell you because I hate it that much—they don't end up together.
So if the story isn't about love, what is it about? Well, I'll tell you: It's a story about "love." It's a story about fatalism and "THE One" and ridiculous, made-up notions of the universe and how "love" happens.
Let me explain.
I believe in a general master plan that God helps us uncover. When I say "general," I mean very general. There may be some specifics; I'm not ruling that out . . . But I don't believe in one exact, literal path for my life or the lives of most humans. (Remind me to post about Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken
.) I believe in agency; I don't believe in destiny. I don't believe in "What if's."
In the penultimate scene, Summer, the love interest, explains to heartbroken Tom that she met the man she's engaged to in a diner, while she was reading. "What if," she asks, "I had gone to the movies? What if I had eaten somewhere else?" She continues asking a series of impossible-to-answer questions. But here's the thing: Before her fatalistic spiel, she also tells him that the reason she decided to marry this other guy is because she was sure about him the way she was never sure about Tom. So now
we're getting down to it. That's the line that makes all the difference. Why must people reduce love or the lack of it to fate? The real reason Summer didn't stick with Tom is because she didn't really love him. Better yet, she didn't choose
him. For whatever reason, she didn't feel sure about him. (I would question that as well . . . She must've had her reasons for being unsure. Maybe he angered too quickly? Perhaps he listened to The Smiths too much? Maybe she wanted him to do something more with his architecture degree?)
At any rate, she chose not to love him. Plain and simple. It wasn't written in the stars, and it wasn't "meant to be." In the closing scene, I hoped this was the direction the movie was going in. It was so close. So close! But like almost all love stories before it, it ended supporting the romantic stance I so much despise. :(
Now, was the music good? Yes. Was the filming fresh and light-hearted? Yes. Was one of my favorite new-ish actresses in it? Yes.
And there you have it, folks. That's why I hate it so much. From what I watched for the first hour and 15 minutes, I had high hopes that it would end realistically. That Tom would not get the girl, but get the job. That he would stand tall in the knowledge that Summer's "What if's" and fatalistic notions were senseless ideas to live by.
But he didn't.
Were my expectations for this movie too high? Is that why my review is so harsh? Maybe . . . Although, I had high expectations for Julie & Julia
recently, and all of those expectations were met. In fact, they were exceeded.
Thing I'm thankful for: my exceptional reasoning skillz. :) No, really -- I'm thankful for two very good friends, Nikki and Rob. They are wonderful people; I wish you knew them.