I don’t even know where to start with this movie. So I’ll start with the gushing. I loved 500 Days of Summer. How do you describe it? Is it the ultimate chick flick? Or the ultimate anti-chick flick? It’s obviously not a musical. But it’s kind of a musical. Maybe it’s an art film. Or maybe it’s just mindless pop-culture. Whatever it is, I liked it.
So what made me like it? Well, there’s the script. It’s some damn snappy writing, with all kinds of subtle references to art, literature, and music. And then there’s the precision film making. Director Mark Webb is a planner. I don’t think much of this film was left to chance. He actually mentioned “animatics” during the Q and A. I’ve heard of story boarding live-action movies, but animatics?
You also can’t ignore the music. Yes, there is one production dance number in the movie. And you know that scene was planned well in advance. The surprise is that it’s obvious the rest of the soundtrack was determined before shooting began. The music is almost a character in the movie.
And speaking of unusual characters in movies, let’s talk about Los Angeles. I love movies that cast cities as characters. But not very many movies choose to romanticize L.A. Not since L.A. Story (one of my favorite movies) have I seen such a charming love letter to the City of Angels.
I also have to mention the performances, particularly Joseph Gordon-Levitt. All I can say is brilliant.
I’m pretty sure this movie isn’t as good as I think it is. But it got to me. Several moments during 500 Days of Summer I felt like the director, the writers, and the actors were speaking directly to me. It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a personal cinematic experience.