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Movie Review

(500) Days of Summer a.k.a. “500 Days of Summer,” “Askin (500) günü”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual material and language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
Romance, Comedy
1 hr. 35 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
July 17, 2009 (limited—27 theaters)
July 24, 2009 (wider—85 theaters)
August 13, 2009 (wide—1,048 theaters)
DVD: December 22, 2009
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Fox Searchlight Pictures

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer



1 Corinthians 13

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tom Hansen), Zooey Deschanel (Summer Finn), Geoffrey Arend (McKenzie), Chloe Moretz (Rachel Hansen), Matthew Gray Gubler (Paul), Clark Gregg (Vance), Patricia Belcher (Millie), Rachel Boston (Alison), Minka Kelly (Autumn—Girl at interview), Charles Walker (Millie’s New Husband), Ian Reed Kesler (Douche), more »
Director: Marc Webb
Producer: Veronica Brooks, Scott Hyman, Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, Mark Waters, Steven J. Wolfe
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

“This is not a love story. It is a story about love.”

(500) Days of Summer” is an original, refreshing piece of work in a genre that has almost been beaten to a pulp. While it is a romantic comedy, we are warned that this is actually not a love story. In truth, it is touching story about love, loss, and moving on. The plot is surprisingly simple, but its directorial execution, along with the fine performances of the two lead actors, is what makes it a remarkable standout.

Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) originally wanted to be an architect, but he somehow ended up working for a mundane greeting card company. His job sparks up when the beautiful Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) becomes employed. Having a strong shyness, Tom develops a crush until the bolder Summer initiates the flirting. She is, however, quick to warn Tom that she’s not looking for anything serious. Believing to have found the perfect girl, Tom agrees to take things slowly. Not surprisingly, Tom falls for the beauty and greatly suffers as Summer remains emotionally distant and true to her word.

The story is not told in chronological order. We are taken to the different days and their pivotal moments within the five-hundred days Summer so greatly affected Tom’s life. While some might find this odd, it added to the believability of the story. When a relationship ends, one usually searches within the relationship’s storyline, remembering the good, the bad, and the downhill turning point.

The story primarily focuses on Tom, who is given a charming vulnerability by the stellar Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Tom remains completely relatable and wins the audience’s sympathy as he falls in love with his dream girl. Summer is never given a full character development, and this was perhaps for the best. So even as a character, she remains emotionally aloof. However, enough is shown to understand why Tom is drawn to her enigmatic, yet alluring nature.

The direction is quite unique, thanks to director Marc Webb. We’re given a narrator, musical numbers, cartoons, and even an erased black-white canvas. None of it seems out of place, but rather welcoming as Tom goes through his own collage of emotion.

Offensive Content

While the movie has many praises, it sadly does have objectionable content. The cursing is moderate with about 22 uses, including one GD. The Lord’s name is profaned a few times throughout the film, as well. Drinking takes place as part of a normal social gathering. Conversations take place that if a person does not act or speak a particular way then he or she might be a gay or lesbian.

The sexual content is quite heavy, but lower than what I’ve seen recently in PG-13 movies. While Tom and Summer do have sex, there aren’t any explicitly graphic scenes, they are mostly shown in bed fully clothed. In a video store, they go behind a curtain to see an adult film. They later rent one and attempt to reenact the scene in the shower. Their movements are hidden behind the shower curtain.

I believed Tom’s love for Summer and his eventual pain. While Summer wishes for a casual relationship, Tom isn’t the casual kind. This became evident when right before their first time, he excused himself. While alone, he had to remind himself of Summer’s request for casualness. He tried to remain emotionally distant, but to no avail. His fall for her is completely understandable, since God created sex to be a highly emotional union for husband and wife.

The word “love” is exceedingly thrown around in everyday life and at the end of conversations. Without any action, the word itself is meaningless. Perhaps the most popular verses on love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

The verse shows all the physical characteristics of love which result from actions. Perhaps more marriages could be saved, if spouses took time to actually show love to one another in the way the Bible so perfectly describes. God demonstrated His love for us by sending his one and only Son to be a living sacrifice.

While I did enjoy the movie, I’m a bit hesitant to recommend it. If the aforementioned do not bother you, and you’re looking for a fresh take on a romantic comedy, then you’d most assuredly enjoy this gem. “(500) Days of Summer” is certainly not a movie young children should see, but older teens might benefit from seeing how a relationship without God is almost always bound to fail.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—Don’t walk into this movie expecting a love story. You will be disappointed if you go in with that kind of misconception. True to it’s tagline, it is a story about love, and there is a distinction. This movie is honest. I get tired of watching the same old love story with the same old, dry characters. This movie is meant to teach people that there is always hope. I don’t usually comment on Web sites and things like this, but I’ve been raving about this movie ever since I saw it. It has a little bit of everything, so it should entertain basically everybody. There’s documentary style scenes, musical styles scenes, Italian scenes, black and white scenes, etc.

I’ve never seen a movie with this much creativity and originality. It does a great job of imitating real life. It makes you really happy for a while, then it breaks your heart for a while, then it gives you hope for the future. Also, the music and lighting are perfect. Everyone involved in this movie is very talented.

I’m not easily offended, and this movie didn’t offend me, but, for the sake of people who are, there is some semi-offensive material. A few characters get drunk, but the worst thing they do while drunk is sing badly. All of the sex scenes are implied and not at all graphic (there are 2). The language is not very bad either, but there is some. There is basically no violence except when Tom gets punched in the face (which was really funny by the way).

I highly recommend this movie to anybody. In fact, I think that actors and directors should watch this movie as well because creativity is really hard to come by these days.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Danny, age 18 (USA)
Positive—The best movie of the year and the best date flick in a long time—very original, wonderfully directed and great acting. There is some offensive sexual content, but I did not find it gratuitous. These were not the usual cliché, lame and grotesque sexual jokes; plus the main character wants commitment. Love, heartbreak and hope. A romance that is not a romance, or is it? Go see and find out. Great film!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Todd Adams, age 42 (Canada)
Neutral—The movie is artistic—in graphics, music, and the story. I like that aspect. About the story, it made us react because some are offended and want to share our own side about love, and that’s good for the movie. But what they are missing here is the truth about love—they labeled love with commitment. We don’t love just because they also love us, we love them just because we do love them for whoever they are and what they’re going to become. We don’t ask for love—it’s just meant to be shared and given. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—rianne, age 21 (Philippines)
Negative—I love the unorthodox presentation of the story. It jumps around; it uses split screens and still pictures. Choreographed dance numbers and Han Solo mirages. Ah… l’esprit de indie films. Such a welcome reprieve from the usual fare. And while I appreciate the artistic delivery behind “(500) Days of Summer,” I hate its facetious message of worldly love, i.e., love is an emotion. Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians that “love never fails.” Among all the other attributes listed in that same chapter, this one particularly supports the notion that love is an action. It’s not passive, nor fleeting—a whimsical stirring that’s there one day and then gone the next. What irritates me most about this movie is that this charlatan’s love defined as physical attraction—a mere feeling—is the ruling force in these peoples’ lives. Watching 500, for me, was like watching a doppelgänger of my past in fast-paced, synoptic motion. It stung a little, yet at the same time, I felt a smattering of coagulants in my spirit. An unseen suture, however tiny, for my heart.

John Eldredge says God will bring specific women into us men’s lives so that healing from broken and/or dated relationships can be ushered in. They don’t have to be in the form of another relationship. They can be as momentary as a stranger in a busy terminal or as indefinite as a coworker. After this movie, I’m convinced this whole concept applies not only to real people He will interact with us but also those portrayed via 2D mediums. Food for thought. The lead actor looks a heck of a lot like Heath Ledger. Incidentally, my sister tells me both guys starred in a contemporary Shakespeare story called “10 Things I Hate About You.” Well, anyway, if ever there was going to be a biography on Ledger, the time to make it would be now, while this Gordon kid is still young. He’s a remarkable look-alike.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mega Tron, age 23 (USA)
Negative—It’s all about sex with no commitment! We left about halfway through in disgust. …“offensive” was far too mild. …this was pure trash and the jumping around with the sequence of time was very confusing. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Norris Miller, age 77 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This is a very good movie, the script is great and the actors, Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt, play their roles to perfection. The audience really connects with the characters so well, and the story is great.

Great teen movie, but I believe the adults will like it as well. As moral issues goes, the movie does give off a somewhat good message but does so in a sort of offensive way.

The theme of the story is finding one’s true love. The main character, Tom, believes he finds true loves and embarks in a romantic relationship with Summer, a girl he breaks up with one year later.

The couple, Tom and Summer, do have premarital sex twice in the movie. None of the scenes show any explicit content, but it is implied that they are having sexual contact. They also visit an adult movie section, but nothing is shown, as it is behind a curtain.

Profanity: There are several s-words. The profanity is very minor.

Sexual Content: Medium (Sexual scenes, with no nudity)

Violence: Minor (Tom punches a man trying to flirt with Summer)

Overall, this is a great movie. It really grabs your attention and is one of the best movies of the year. It’s artistry and script is captivating and the comedy also gives off a couple chuckles. But if you are sensitive about a purity in a premarital relationship, then you may want to skip it. 5 out of 5
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ryan G., age 16 (USA)
Movie Critics
…Boy gets girl and boy loses girl in convoluted, sometimes cloying but ultimately winning fashion in “500 Days of Summer.” Stylish feature debut by longtime music video director Marc Webb goes out of its way to take an unconventional approach to telling one of the oldest stories in the book, only to prevail by embracing the fact that the fundamental things apply—a cute leading couple, a rooting interest in their welfare and a genuine feeling for heartbreak and the belief that life must go on. …
—Todd McCarthy, Variety
…In romance, we believe what we want to believe. That’s the reason “500 Days of Summer” is so appealing. Tom is in love with Summer from the moment he sees her. …Here is a rare movie that begins by telling us how it will end and is about how the hero has no idea why. …
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times [4/4]
…an engagingly breezy tale about a guy with a broken heart and the girl who broke it. … the music is key, too, not just to establish a mood, but to ID the emotional states of its characters. …
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer [3/4]
…Line by line, the script is clever… The pain in (500) Days of Summer (written with Michael H. Weber) feels very raw. …
—David Edelstein, New York Magazine
…Sweetly seasoned: ‘(500) Days’ gets by on its charm… the movie charmed me enough to send me out smiling, and I can see younger film goers taking it very much to heart. It’s an “Annie Hall’’ for the iPod generation: über-designed, pleasing to the touch, making up in generic sweetness what it lacks in bite. …
—Ty Burr, Boston Globe [3/4]
…A wedding between two minor characters late in the film subtly underscores what it is that Tom pines for: a permanent commitment. Until he finds it, though, we’re left with the feeling that he’ll keep offering his body and soul to each successive person he falls for. That’s an approach liable to yield more and more heartache for him—and for anyone influenced by his (and Summer’s) tragically confused example of what it means to have sex and make romance.
—Adam R. Holz, PluggedIn