Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Movie Review: (500) Days of Summer


I think (500) Days of Summer is a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing.


*Spoiler alert! 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.

6 Comments:

Blogger Carrie said...

"I had high hopes that it would end realistically... That he would stand tall in the knowledge that Summer's "What if's" and fatalistic notions were senseless ideas to live by."

That may be the story that you wanted, but I doubt it's actually realistic. Instead, an overly sentimental and romantic person, who believes in all kinds of silly things like 'the One', was essentially the same person even after getting his heart broken. Summer probably wasn't the first girl he said those things about, and she'll not be the last.

I'd say that's pretty realistic. I know plenty of those people, and I even still like them.

I was more offended by Summer's selfishness than that some people in the world (despite all evidence to the contrary) believe in the idea of soulmates. Oh well for them. People believe lots of funny things. I was still entertained.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Oh, Carrie. Truer words were never spoken. Thanks for diffusing my anger . . . Still, I don't like the movie, and it's likely I'll never watch it again. :)

11:43 AM  
Blogger rob bell said...

Well all I can say is thank you for watching dumb movies so I can avoid them :) Also, I'm not sure but did you mean Robert Frosts "The Road Less Traveled?" or am I missing the other... Anyway, lovely blog. Just lovely.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Emily Tayman said...

I feel like a dodged a bullet by reading this before even thinking about seeing that movie. I would despise it. This is why I hated Serendipity. Selfish people doing selfish things and calling it fate.

Also, you always make me laugh. Way better than watching the reviewed movie!

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you are just like Summer, you don't believe in fate or destiny because you have never been in love or found the one. Of course she seems like the bitch in the movie, but she was always honest with Tom and there are girls and guys like her everywhere. You know when it's right, and you know when it's missing something. Who can explain it? You choose who you love? I think you can't help who you are drawn to or attracted to, and you choose to pursue it and make it work.

6:58 AM  
Blogger drfindley said...

I loved this movie. Why? Because it was so realistic. While I haven't been in that exact situation, I've dealt with the same feelings. I've known girls who try and like a boy for forever only to finally realize, he's not the one, usually when they've met the other. Having Tom ask the girl out showed he finally, finally understood there wasn't fate, just formally missed chances taken.

1:25 PM  

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