(500) Days of Summer is ranked 227 in the 2010 IMDb Top 250 Challenge.
500 slots into the romantic genre, of which I’m not the world’s greatest fan. Still the Internet has heaped praise on it for being a funny, original take on the story of boy-meets-girl so I gave it a bash.
The story follows 500 days of the life of Tom, a drone at a greeting card company and the events of his relationship with the eponymous Summer, whom he meets at work. The ‘twist’ is that the film is chopped up in non-chronological order bookended by which of the 500 days in question the scene features, though these are not Tarantino-esque cuts. Because of this very early on we learn that the relationship between Tom and Summer doesn’t last and the film flips between their dating and the relationship falling apart and of course the lessons that we the viewers can learn from their time together. For this reason alone I had high hopes for the film as normally you’d walk into a rom-com already knowing the ending.
Unfortunately the film is original isn’t the slightest. As soon as the scene was set where we learn that Tom’s job is to write cheesy greeting card slogans but yearns to be an architect, it becomes obvious that he’ll rage-quit his job at some point with a speech on ‘what is love’ and pursue his architectural dreams. Summer turns out to be a two-dimensional generic slightly-quirky girl-next-door. Tom’s friends include the non-threatening mate with no sex life who gets them together, conflict includes a jock-businessman trying to cut in between Tom and Summer at a bar, and so it goes on.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s an entertaining film with several laugh out loud moments, the acting is above average for this type of film and I’d recommend watching it once, but I don’t see why it features in the IMDb Top 250. I could probably come up with another hundred (non-rom-com) films that should feature above it. It’s, well, it’s average.