There's not a single stitch of doubt in my mind that I'm a sentimental girl. I have a few movies that I watch over and over again when I get that girlish need for imagined romance. Tully, Before Sunset, Say Anything -- you know, those kind of films. The ones that get under your skin more and more after each repeated viewing. The ones you never get tired of, that you find kind of inspiring regardless of the odd cliche thrown in here and there. Well, (500) Days of Summer has just been added to the aforementioned list.
Summer's a person, not a season, and the (500) (while I'm not entirely sure what the point of the parenthesis might be other than the fact that the film obviously doesn't show ALL 500 days) refers to the length of time spent in a relationship. Tom meets Summer at work. She's out of his league. She's quirky, wears great clothes and can sing a mean karaoke. They become involved. Words are uttered. Time's spent. Things wind up. Maybe they unravel in interesting ways. But at the end of it, you're enamored by them -- they're dangerously quirky and fundamentally flawed, qualities I much admire in films of the romantic, ahem, nature.
But what I truly admired about (500) Days of Summer was the film's storytelling. It moves back and forth like memory, discombobulated and out of sync, through their relationship. Starts at the end, works its way to the beginning, winds past the middle, perks up for a day or two at either end, and yet, you never get lost. You're happy to be thrown in to the places that feel important (or not); to observe the differences a month can make; to wander into the sprawl that defines these two 20-somethings.
It's a whimsical film, and if you can stand a little whimsy with your love story, then I'd say you'll enjoy this picture as much as I did. You'll revel a little bit in how they listen to The Smiths (maybe a bit too much), how they dispense of some indie cliches but not others (oh wise baby sister sage, yawn), and hold your heart in all the right places at more than one crucial, ideally filmed moment. It's delicious. And I've already ordered a copy, getting myself all ready for the summer when I can have a mini-festival of all these films in a row. Perfect for a hot summer day at the cottage after you've spent a few hours in sun, written a bunch of great pages, and are looking for that one sweet escape with a mint julep and some jelly beans at the ready.