500 Days Of Summer

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What better way to kick off the summer than with a good romcom where the main love interest is named Summer?

500 Days of Summer came out in 2009, and so far I think it’s stood the test of time as far as romcoms go. That might be because it’s not strictly a romcom; it’s more of a romantic drama where *SPOILER ALERT* the couple doesn’t end up together. 

This movie is very fun to watch, and it also gives you some pretty visuals and storytelling techniques throughout. It utilizes non-linear storytelling and does a character study on the main character Tom throughout his rocky 500-day relationship with Summer. 

Tom tends to trick a lot of viewers at first. The way he’s written is subtle, and he’s sympathetic enough that we look over his red flags. The story is entirely from his point of view, so we only see how he’s affected by the relationship. From his perspective, Summer is meant to be his perfect manic pixie dream girl. He meets her and immediately wants her. While Tom’s not overt about pursuing Summer—rather taking the nice guy route of becoming her friend first—there is an underlying sense that he feels he deserves and is entitled to be with Summer because he wants to be. Tom is a textbook ‘Nice Guy,’ but again, he’s subtle about it. He maintains his friendly persona throughout the movie with a few exceptions, such as when he yells at Summer that they’re a couple when she keeps trying to insist they’re at most friends with benefits. 

Despite Summer’s choice to stay single from the start, from the viewer’s perspective, it just looks like she’s stringing Tom along. In reality, Tom was reading more into their relationship than what was actually there. He didn’t care what Summer wanted if it conflicted with his wants. When Summer breaks up with him, he paints her as the villain of his story. And because it is entirely Tom’s story, the viewer also sees Summer as the villain.

This film is one of my favorites because it challenges the viewer to see past the surface of a story and understand what’s really being said. It’s a satire, not only on romance but also on the manic pixie dream girl trope. It goes against the idea that women are there to fix men or make their lives better. It portrays them as their own people who are free to say no to a man. It also shows that just because a man might want a woman and will be nice to her as a result of that desire, it doesn’t mean he’s entitled to anything from her. In a broader sense, the movie also shows that no matter how well two people might fit together, sometimes things don’t work out—and that’s okay. 

So, if you don’t mind bittersweet endings, I’d recommend this lovely film about love, heartbreak, and life for you to watch this summer.