Re: 500 Days of Summer

September 28, 2009

Evan and Katie brought up some good points in their comments on 500 Days of Summer. I wanted to respond to them, and (maybe) offer a bit of defense for the film and the narrative choices made.

Caution, there be spoilers ahead.

It is most definitely true that the films ends in much the same way as most romantic comedies do: guy gets girl. Except only sort of, in this case. The film really says nothing about whether or not Tom (Main Character) will be happy in this one, either. The film avoids the typical cliche of romantic comedies, and steadfastly refuses to put Tom and Summer together. And thank goodness, because she is thoroughly unlikable. Instead, after a period of mourning for a relationship lost– well over 100 days, if I remember right– Tom is finally able to move on.

This is, I think, the most important part of the film, really. I think Autumn serves more as a metaphor than anything else, and this film is LADEN with metaphor. Or was Los Angeles always gloomy and did people always dress drably when Tom was in a bad mood about Summer? Conversely, that dance scene? The film makers are winking at us here, “Yeah, you and I both know this isn’t really what’s happening, but it’s how he feels right now.” Thinking about the film this way, symbolically, lets us see Summer and Autumn in a different light. Summer represents one way of looking at relationships, a way that the film makers try to convince us is flawed; Autumn represents Tom moving into a more mature way of dealing with commitment and relationships.

Granted, the film doesn’t ask us to judge whether this new way is better– it gives us no evidence either way– but at the very least it represents progression on Tom’s part.

Anyway, my thoughts.

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