(500) Days of Summer


STARRING: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel

Summer love: Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel

The boy-meets-girl formula is one of the oldest out there, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t squeeze some juice. In the frolicsome (500) Days of Summer, the boy is Los Angeles greeting-card writer Tom Hansen (Gordon-Levitt in a soul-bearing performance), the girl is his boss’s intriguing PA, Summer Finn (Deschanel), and the ups, downs and sideways of their on–off affair are a bittersweet beauty.


Tom is an artistic, idealistic guy; an aspiring architect who yearns to be a Serious Boyfriend, if that’s only what Summer were looking for. She’s not, however — no way: self-reliant Summer is keen to keep things casual. That’s a deal-breaking point of difference, yet as music-video and commercials director Marc Webb flicks back and forth through their 18 months together, you can’t help but cheer Tom and Summer on as a couple. From Tom’s point of view they’re so great together — two opposite parts that slot cosily as a whole. But Days is not a film about dovetailed endings. And as its shades of perception play out (with the coolest use of an extended split-scene sequence), Tom’s shift in realisation is this funny valentine’s most disarming gift.