From the opening credits, I had a hard time believing that I would enjoy this movie. I was extremely skeptical, as I always am, of the fact that it was an indie film and the movie poster was all sketchy/artsy and the soundtrack was just too good. I thought they were trying too hard which annoyed me. To me, indies always have a sort of unfinished feel which I despise. When I watch a movie I don't want to worry about the quality, whether acting-wise or directing-wise, that I feel most indie films lack (ex. 2 Days In Paris). I'd rather feel like I'm immersed in the story rather than watching a glorified home video.
That is my very general opinion on independent films however, not all independent films. I must say, 500 Days of Summer has helped nudge me a little closer to the line of trusting these indie films. Something good can actually come out of a low-budget film (when I talk of "indie films", I do mean the low-budget ones) without feeling forced or overly artsy. The director, Marc Webb, created a brilliant balance of a realistic story line with acting talent to satisfying the appetite of both the artsy, indie film go-seers and mainstream audiences.
The narrator of the film begins by telling the audience that "this is not a story of boy meets girl" in order to prepare us for what is come down the road. He flashed a warning sign before a very sharp turn in the story. The warning did not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. This is not a happy story of "boy meets girl", the narrator was right in that aspect, rather it is a story of realistic situations and human behavior. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a sympathetic good guy who gets screwed over by a charming girl, a role he is familiar with and plays very well, by involving himself in an office romance with the stunning Zooey Deschanel playing Summer Finn. The story takes the audience on a roller coaster of emotions that any intense relationship is bound to have, especially when the relationship involves a man desperately searching for "the one" and a girl glaringly afraid of commitment. There were cracks in the foundation and we were so lucky to see those cracks grow until the relationship crumbs into a pile of dust. There is light that does shine through the cracks as well- though at times very dim light.
What I enjoyed most about this film is the fact that so many people in the world go through exactly what Gordon-Levitt's character experiences and therefore can easily relate. I was even able to sympathize, in a small way, the experiences and excuses Deschanel's character, Summer, spit to her heartbroken boyfriend.
Please do not go into this film thinking it's all terrible and melodramatic. There are parts showing the exciting, fun, spontaneous moments of a loving relationship. At one point in the film, Gordon-Levitt is surrounded by people on the street singing upbeat songs of love! At that point in the film, however, is when I saw it- a small residue of someone from his past. I had a flash back during this part of the film to a scene from 10 Things I Hate About You when Heath Ledger sings "I Love You, Baby" on the stadium bleachers and the marching band joins in. At that moment, after seeing the similarity in the two scenes, I saw Heath Ledger hidden behind the eyes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Maybe it was just the scene, but I felt it was more. Something in Gordon-Levitt's eyes made me smile warmly at the thought that somehow Heath Ledger would continue to live in a small sort of way. It was a great thing. A great moment, at least worth seeing 500 Days of Summer if not for any other reason just to see a glimpse of someone who reminds you a tiny bit of that legendary actor, Heath Ledger. As it turns out, I am now a Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan.