Film / (500) Days of Summer

"This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know up front, this is not a love story."
— Narrator

(500) Days of Summer is a 2009 independent Romantic Comedy starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.

Tom Hansen works as a writer for a greeting-card company; Summer Finn is a quirky young woman hired as his boss's assistant. Tom, a hopeless romantic, immediately falls for her; Summer doesn't believe in true love, and isn't looking for a relationship. They quickly become more than just friends, but while Summer doesn't consider their affair to be serious, Tom believes she's "the one", and wants something more. The film takes a look at their quasi-relationship from Tom's perspective, numbering the days and events that lead to its buildup and eventual downfall.

Directed by Marc Webb (from a script by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber), the film has been praised by critics for eschewing romantic comedy cliches. Instead, it portrays the highs and lows (mostly lows) of a modern relationship and the fractured way in which we remember them.

Webb is apparently interested in doing a sequel.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adorkable: Tom. He's awkward and silly, but many viewers found him lovable. Rachel thinks he's a bit of a nerd.
    Rachel: Just because some cute girl likes all the same bizarro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soulmate.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Tom and his co-worker friend initially assumed Summer to be this.
    Tom: That sucks. Why is it pretty girls think they can treat people like crap and get away with it?
    McKenzie: Centuries of reinforcement!
  • An Aesop: This film warns the viewers of what can happen when you put someone up on a pedestal as a romantic ideal rather than viewing them as a real person with flaws.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Will Tom find real lasting love with Autumn, or will it be another failed relationship? Since we only see them on the first day of their meeting, guessing in either direction is pure speculation.
  • Anachronic Order: The film begins on Day 488 and then jumps around among the 500 days as Tom (through the narrator) recalls them.
  • Arc Symbol: The color blue represents Summer. Throughout the film, Tom sees and ignores many objects with this color which serves as a Foreshadowing (see below).
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: One of the European films Tom saw showed him being slapped by a mime.
  • Benevolent Boss: Vance, Tom's boss, notices the latter's Creator Breakdown and makes him use his misery to be more work-productive instead of firing him. Still didn't work, sadly.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: In the case of one of Summer's ex boyfriends, whose name is Puma.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tom and Summer don't get back together, but he's on the path to achieving his dreams, she's in a happy relationship, and he might have a good relationship starting.
  • Bi the Way: Summer talks about her exes, including Charlie. "She was nice."
  • Blind Date: Tom goes on one with another, unnamed girl after Summer dumps him; as he's still too distraught to do anything but talk about their breakup, it doesn't go well.
  • Bluebird of Happiness: During Tom's Happy Dance with half of Los Angeles, a Disneyesque cartoon bluebird flies in and lands on his finger. And then winks at the camera as it flies off.
  • Book Ends: Day 488.
  • Boy Meets Girl: To quote the narrator: "This is a story of Boy Meets Girl." Deconstructed.
  • Brick Joke: The Graduate.
  • Cerebus Call Back: Done the other way round. Tom finds a card saying "I love us" and looks at it sadly. It then flashes back to inform us that he wrote the card inspired by his relationship with Summer.
  • Color Failure
  • Color Motif: Blue is associated with Summer.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Tom completely misinterpreted the ending of The Graduate as a child, contributing to his tendency to romanticize relationships as an adult. Summer, however, seems to get it, as she leaves the cinema crying and Tom just can't understand why.
    • It's shown fairly evidently in the script, where it is shown that after his college girlfriend (briefly mentioned in the film) broke up with him in a flashback by using a song he showed her as a metaphor (skipping the song that she used to like), Tom misinterprets it and tells her it's a "great fucking song."
  • Cool Big Sis: Technically, she's a Cool Little Sis, but she sure does not sound or behave like a kid.
  • Creator Breakdown: In-universe example; Tom writes increasingly caustic and inappropriately cynical greeting card messages as his relationship with Summer deteriorates.
    • "Roses are red, violets are blue, fuck you, whore."
  • Crowd Song: A Crowd Dance, to be more accurate, since the characters onscreen are not the ones singing: the morning after Tom and Summer spend their first night together, Tom giddily struts down the streets of L.A., where he is joined by a crowd of dancers, a marching band, and animated birds, all set to Hall and Oates' "You Make My Dreams".