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As soon as I saw this, I knew which film I was going to choose. It’s actually one of my absolute faves but I feel that it doesn’t get the recognition it quite deserves. I wouldn’t even say it’s a cult classic – it’s got a good fanbase but not good enough for even its fan accounts on Instagram to stand the test of time.
That film is… (500) Days of Summer! (warning: *spoilers*)
The first time I watched this film, I didn’t really think much of it to be honest. I enjoyed it and I left it at that.
Then, I watched it again and oh… my… God! I absolutely fell in love with it. I fell in love with everything about it. So much so that I’m going to list some of my favourite parts/elements…
- It starts off by saying, “This isn’t a love story”. And it’s not! It is but it’s not! How amazing is that? Off the bat, we know it’s not going to be about love… but Tom (the ever-adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls in love. Hard! And you can’t blame him – Summer (the also ever-adorable Zooey Deschanel) seems perfect and they like the same things. Why wouldn’t that work out?
- It flicks back and forth between dates so that you can easily see the change in their relationship. Your emotions are up and down, and you can see the difference in Tom as he is flying high when he’s happy with Summer, then crashing low when he’s sad about her. The fact that these emotions are then used for him to design greeting cards is just perfect.
- The soundtrack is amazing. Firstly, it uses two perfect songs by The Smiths and it also has two wonderful songs by Regina Spektor. These songs were clearly chosen very carefully as the lyrics fit Tom’s state of mind at that point in the film – particularly Hero by Spektor.
- The more and more you see this movie, the more you realise that Summer is not the one in the wrong. She states clearly at the start that she does not want a relationship with Tom but he pursues her anyway. She doesn’t even believe in love. Tom is the one who teaches her that love is a real thing… and she realises that what he says is true… because she finds that fateful, falling in love… with someone else. It’s easy to see Summer as the villain when you first watch this movie, maybe even for a good few times (if you’re like me and want to watch it over and over again) but like Tom’s sister (the fabulous Chloe Grace Moretz) advises him to do… “Look, I know you think she was the one, but I don’t. Now, I think you’re just remembering the good stuff. Next time you look back, I, uh, I really think you should look again.”
- It builds hope. It makes the viewer believe in fate again. Like Tom, a hopeless romantic who truly fell in love, had his heart broken and didn’t want to believe that love even exists anymore. His faith in fate is re-established. The movie shows Tom entering a deep depression after losing the girl and losing his job… but then he finds that spark inside him again because time is the ultimate healer! He follows his dream of becoming an architect… and this, and this is probably my second favourite part of the movie as it really does trigger a warmth inside of me, leads him to meet, possibly, the one!
It’s the narrator’s words that make it even more special…
“If Tom had learned anything, it was that you can’t ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple Earthly event. Coincidence, that’s all anything ever is. Nothing more, than coincidence. Tom had finally learned there are no miracles, there is no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be. He knew, he was sure of it now. Tom was… he was pretty sure.”
Cue the girl who is called… what else? … Autumn! ❤︎
And, finally, my absolute favourite part of the movie…
- The Expectations vs. Reality scene. Wow, this part truly gets me every single time. I don’t think I’ve ever related to something as much as this. I absolutely love that it shows them side by side because how often do we have an expectation of how an event is going to go. Tom sees his night panning out so differently to how it actually pans out. He expects to rekindle his romance with Summer. He expects her to change her mind. He expects things to be perfect. But that’s not always real life. The reality is that she is engaged to someone else. The reality is that Tom is proven to be the dreamer that Summer told him he is. The reality is that life is not always perfect.
But, when you link that final scene with Autumn to this one… you realise that, actually, it is perfect. Things just happen for a reason and, even though some experiences are tough and hard to take, that’s because something better is coming. You have to trust the universe.
So, there you have it. I could talk about this movie forever. It has so much depth. I watch this movie when I’m happy or I watch this movie when I’m sad. Whatever I’m feeling, it makes me feel good.
Loula Bella xoxo