Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel co-star in a quirky and refreshingly original comedy about falling in and out of love. It is a romantic film and it is a comedy; but, as the narrator explains at the very beginning, it is not a romantic comedy. Here's a look at (500) Days of Summer.
Tom Hansen is a melancholy young man who writes greeting cards for a living and dreams of finding the ideal mate. When Summer Finn comes to work at the same office, he is smitten, as are most men who meet her; but Summer warns him from the start that she is not looking for a relationship.
They start dating and, in Tom's eyes, Summer is his perfect match.
Sure enough, as his best friend warns, Tom is headed for heartbreak.
(500) Days of Summer begins at the end of the romance and easily switches back and forth between the different stages of the love affair. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Tom.
"It feels real because the movie is about how real life feels more than like how real life objectively is," he says.
Zooey Deschanel, who co-stars as Summer, thinks that sense of reality meshes well with the non-linear approach to telling the story.
"There are films that I've seen that are very earnest romances, but I think the sincerity of this piece mixed with the way that it's told - very whimsically with lots of humor and taking advantage of the fact that it's cinema - I think that makes it extra-special," she says.
"One of the things I liked about this film is that it's very, very subjective. This is all from Tom's point of view," Deschanel adds. "This is what he believes about Summer and it's hinted in the film that not everything he perceives or that the narrator says is totally the truth. It's a romanticized version of the truth."
"How would this actually happen in real life? asks director Marc Webb. "That was a guiding light for us, so that was underneath for us - trying to find emotional truth rather than reach for the joke."
Webb makes his feature film debut with (500) Days of Summer. He says the comedy within the story - like the story itself - draws on emotions with which he hopes audiences can easily empathize.
"When I read the script for the first time I had a certain emotional reaction to it. It's a romantic comedy with a male protagonist, which is unconventional," notes Webb. "It's told out of order which, again, is unconventional; but when I read it I had an emotional response to it and I thought if I can deliver that feeling to the audience then I'll have done my job."
Gordon-Levitt grew up going for laughs on the successful TV comedy series Third Rock From The Sun and he enjoys this film's balance of humor and seriousness.
"I think the boundaries between drama and comedy are sort of questionable. I think that's one of the strengths of (500) Days of Summer. Yes, it's a comedy, but it comes with the same emotional honesty as a good drama and it makes the funnier parts funny," he says.
(500) Days of Summer is co-written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. The film was shot on location in and around Los Angeles; but instead of the tourist attractions, it shows the L.A. that local residents know. The soundtrack is pop and rock hit music from the 1980's to the present.