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Starring:Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler

Director: Marc Webb

Writer:Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

Cinematography:Eric Steelberg

Original Score:Mychael Danna, Rob Simonson

Running Time:95 Mins.

It is normal that I review a film based largely upon either a.) It’s merit as an enjoyable experience or b.) it’s merit as something special, something to be admired, as it pushes boundaries in some areas, be it script, visuals or acting, and yes often thorugh this enjoyment can be derived of a different sort. On this occasion however the two are indistinguishable for (500) Days of Summer is that rare beast, a film as ultimately enjoyable as it is admirable without feeling pretentious or trying too hard.

Of course it helps from the off that both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel are two of the best and most under-rated actors around and having them together just sweeten’s the deal, their chemistry is that of a couple that genuinely feel for each other, even if those feelings aren’t always what the other would like, as Summer herself says “life happens”, and life is the driving force of (500) Days of Summer. Essentially a rom-com with a quirky edge, on the surface at least, the film has the good grace not too tip the quirkiness into the level of irritating or crass as the films of Michel Gondry or Spike Jonze have fell into in the past.

Marc Webb, like those aforementioned film-makers, hails from a background in music videos, and it shows, through it’s intended structure (500) Days of Summer is broken down into chapters  that are signalled through a ticker of days numbered (1) to the titular (500), this being non linear we do not start at the beginning and work to the end and neither do we start at the end and move, Memento style, to the start again. No, we bounce from day to day in an a pattern that to describe here would most likely confuse, but within the structure of the film and most importantly, the script, it flows beautifully.

Gordon-Levitt is an actor long overdue his big break, having made no mis-steps and even breaking into big budget popcorn fare with last month’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, hamming it up as Cobra Commander no less he has just about every base covered and his performance here is simply the icing on the cake. Having an unparalleled like-able quality and in the film’s standout scene shows he can both dance well AND find the comedy in it fantastically well. His flip-side is Zooey Deschanel, excellent as ever but her quirky free spirit act, which was beginning to grate and show cracks in the likes of Yes Man is finely honed here making a character that often seems unlike-able in her actions towards Tom (dependent on your relationship stance maybe?) though eventually wins out as a genuine person, someone who teaches Tom a lot more about relationship’s, and life, than he expected.

While it tries hard to distance itself from your average rom-com it seems effortlessly better despite sharing a great many attributes, the opposing best friends giving advice, the  romantic moments set to music, character quirks only ever evident in rom-coms, but they are so deftly done and with such energy and conviction they become shining stars in the enveloping nature of the film. Matthew Gray Guber is excellent as Tom’s best friend, simply by doing little more than offering non-advice and getting drunk!

If there is a mis-step it is in the use of Tom’s sister as a beyond her years advice giver, it seems a little too cutesy and dare I say it, pretentious, and for some reason made me think of Juno and that film’s smart arse beyond her year’s star, no good thing I might add. But to berate the film for that would be to do it an injustice, a joyous experience that will afford satisfaction from which ever way you approach it and it might even make you view life a love a little more differnetly to boot. 

 VERDICT

(500) Days of Summeris a breath of fresh air, and a totally refreshing take on the rom-com, bolstered by Gordon-Levitt’s stand out performance and some stunning visuals from first time director Webb, you won’t be disappointed.

grade-A-

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