Sunday, 23 July 2017

500 Days of Summer (3 Stars)

At the beginning of the film the narrator tells us "This is not a love story". That prepared us for what was to come. He should have added "This is not a romantic comedy". After watching the film I read a few reviews, and most of them called it a romantic comedy. They don't get it. If anything, "500 Days of Summer" is a romantic tragedy.

The two main characters, Tom and Summer, are a mismatched pair. Tom believes in Love. He believes that for every person there is one person he's destined to be with, a soulmate. Summer doesn't believe in Love, she doesn't even know what it is. She only believes in the three F's: Friendship, Fun and Sex. (I changed the last word). On that basis Tom and Summer can have a good time together, it might even last for 500 days, but it's inevitable that Summer will end the relationship when she doesn't get all three of her F's.

The film was a big box office hit, and I can objectively appreciate its quality. The non-linear narrative makes it one of the most original films in recent years, The alternation between the happy days at the beginning of the relationship and the sad days as it breaks down make the tragedy even more tangible, as if it's an eventuality that's destined by fate. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's acting is breathtaking, and Zooey Deschanel is also impressive.

Subjectively, I can't enjoy the film. It hits too close to home. I see too much of myself in Tom. I don't believe that there's only one person for me, but I strongly believe in Love. It's natural for me to want the three F's, but that's not enough. Without the Big L everything else is hollow. A girl like Summer would destroy me, just as she wrecked Tom's life. If he'd been smart he would have known better. The narrator's wise words at the beginning of the film are a warning that the relationship can't last, and the non-linear order of the scenes shows us within the first 10 minutes that the narrator was right.

I have loved. I have given all of myself. My only fault was that I loved too much. I gave all I had without expecting anything in return, and it took me far too long to realise that I was receiving nothing in return. After lying broken on the ground I picked myself up, dusted myself off and tried again. Had I learnt from my mistakes? Not at all. Once more I gave all the love in my heart. Once more I was treated like dirt. Now I've sworn that I will never love again. I have too much love to give. It overwhelms most women. Maybe there's a woman somewhere who needs a man like me, but it's too late. I've closed my heart to new possibilities. I don't believe that the three F's are enough, but it's all I'll allow myself.

It's not a film that I can watch again. The first viewing fulfilled my curiosity. A second viewing would be torture.

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