So that day is almost upon us. The day when half the world seems to be dancing to a joyful tune sung by the birds of spring for only them to hear, while the other half wallows in the dark clouds of self pity and resentment. Of course, I’m talking about Valentine’s day. Whichever side of this great social divide you find yourself on this year, we at blinkbox have something for you. Click here to check our love or hate Valentine’s selection of movies.
You will, by now, have been bombarded with images of happy couples, stuffed animals holding glittering love hearts, and the general merriment of those in love. As always, Hollywood will be leading the pack with a slew of mushy romantic ‘dramadies’ on offer, this year’s front runner being Valentine’s Day.
For those of you who like a little less saccharine on the silver screen there is one movie which stands with its head high above the schmaltz pit. As the antithesis to all the happy ever after stories we know and love, (500) Days Of Summer is a refreshing dose of love versus life. The tagline for the movie says it all: “Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn’t.”
Starring two of Hollywood’s most exciting and gifted young actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, 500 Days tells the story of a sometimes joyous, sometimes torturous relationship between Levitt‘s Tom and Deschanel‘s Summer.
Our kooky kids meet when Summer starts a new job at the greetings card company that Tom (a frustrated architect) works for. It’s love at first sight, well, for Tom at least. Ever the miserabilist, he is certain nothing will come of his infatuation until one day while listening to The Smiths in the elevator, Summer starts singing along to ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’. Such encounters a malcontent’s youthful dreams are made of. Tom then resolves to win her over when the office team go out for karaoke. They chat about love and life, sing a few numbers, and pretty soon they are going out on dates to IKEA – not as tragic as it sounds!
I’m not giving anything away by telling you that things do not go smoothly for very long – the clue is in the title! Director Marc Webb (rumoured to be helming the Spider-man reboot) does a great job in pacing (500) Days Of Summer. The movie chapters are split so that the early/good days are interspersed with the post-break up/miserable days. This actually heightens the anticipation to see events unfolding (even in reverse order) as you just have to know what happened to these kids!
It’s important to say at this point that there is a great sense of humour throughout the whole movie. There is a classic corny dance segment (complete with cartoon birds) after Tom and Summer first spend the night – if it doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you’re dead on the inside! Even when Tom feels like his world is ending there are still a few visual gags: grocery shopping in a bathrobe, anyone? All of this set to a soundtrack of the best songs put to celluloid in recent memory (a must have!). The supporting cast are brilliant and colourful, including Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Tom’s hilarious best friend and Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) as his worldly little sister. The heart of the movie is, of course, the relationship between Tom and Summer. Both characters are played to perfection and are incredibly enjoyable to watch, to such a degree that you can’t help falling in love with them both and join in their joy… and sorrow.