The other day, after contemplating for a good 20 minutes about which movie to watch, I decided it would be best to re watch 500 days of summer. I have an exhaustive list of 200 movies which I absolutely love and whenever I want I will take a peek at this list to choose the best movie to watch for that particular time and mood. Slight OCD. So if I feel like crime drama, I will re watch Godfather or Goodfellas and swoon over Pacino and DeNiro for at least a week after the movie ends. Though most times the attempt of scrutinizing this list proves futile as I see myself going back to the same old favorites, probably 10 if you had to pick out, and then realizing how obsessed I am with them. 500 days of summer is one such movie. I’ve to be honest, the biggest reason I think I loved this film as much as I did and the extent to which I harp about it, is my eternal love for Zooey Deschanel. That woman made me look in the mirror every time after the movie, estimating how the famous front bangs would look on my face. Not so good -_- The character in this movie could fit no one else, I feel. Rachel McAdams perhaps. But then McAdams can’t pull off ‘being lost’ as well as this one does. Zooey Deschanel has a certain aura around her, and that works incredibly for this film.
We see Tom falling for Summer the minute he lays eyes on her, and then becoming more and more obsessed about what he thinks her personality would or should be like, whereas time and again the exact opposite is true. He puts her up on a pedestal and refuses to acknowledge her as a real human being, almost worshiping her and distancing her in the process. He starts off with the idea of them being meant for each other by basing it on a song which they both seem to like. Almost like a delusional person, he becomes increasingly convinced every passing day of how Summer is “the one”, if such a thing even exists. He pursues her and falls prey to her magnetic personality, making his whole world revolve round her. Summer seems to find him adorable, the affection flattering and a prospective relationship short and sweet. While he’s head over heels in love with a construct of what “summer” is like and what she will probably bring to his life, she strictly informs him that there is no pressure and a good chance that they will fizzle out sooner than he thinks fit.
Haven’t most of us been there? Either in Tom’s place or Summers’, most of us know the feeling. Liking someone and being so smitten that you are in love with the idea of that person rather than the actual person itself. You are on a trip of your own while the person struggles to keep it real. Or if you were the Summer in your relationship, it’s almost daunting isn’t it? That kind of commitment or certain expectations when you are so unsure of the person you are with. Loads of people mistook this movie as a love story and put the blame on Zooey’s character, calling her the “asshole” in the film. I think most people missed the point. The whole point of them informing us in the first 10 minutes about how the story is not a love story, was so that you would open your minds and take in both characters’ situations. But looking at Tom with his puppy eyes and tiny frame, it’s hard to not empathize and feel like she played with his heart. To be fair, she lets him know in the first few days that she doesn’t want anything serious, which he acknowledges and is game to. But matters of the heart are always tough and as he delves deeper and deeper (pun not intended) he can’t help but start to feel a sense of possession over her. She, on the other hand, is breezy and floating around in the same head space that she went into the relationship with. For her Tom was a guy she met when she was young in the city and having fun. It was a phase. What Tom failed to understand was that the only chance this could have worked, if ever, was if he never let his expectations soar.
Why I really love this movie out of all the hundred thousand romantic comedies ever made (I love ‘When Harry met Sally’ a tiny bit more than this one I must admit) is because it’s a genuine, nuanced story. It could have happened to any of us and then again I’m sure it’s happened to most. We have all been Tom or Summer. One person is always more in love with the other person in any relationship. A broken heart is a bigger wound to heal than unrequited love. You see signs of how Summer is just not the perfect fit for Tom, which he completely decides to overlook as he turns a blind eye to everything that slightly goes against their relationship. Summer is just a girl who likes a guy. She is realistic and lets him know every time, especially when he asks her “I need to know that you're not gonna wake up in the morning and feel differently. “and she says “And I can't give you that. Nobody can “. Now any sane person who isn’t so love sick will understand her position and back away. But Tom builds castles in the air and it all comes crashing down, just as expected. Summer wasn’t supposed to be with Tom and that’s her story. And that’s why we will always have Autumn.