For someone who has totally given up on the genre, "500 Days of summer" distinguishes itself in the way it changes how a person looks at the "rom-com" genre. So much so, that one can hardly classify the movie as rom-com anymore. This movie deserves a genre of its own. As revealed very early into the film, one of "not love stories".
In a directorial masterstroke, the director Marc Webb has created this hauntingly beautiful tale, pieced together from characters you've lived in your life. This is a story of "boy meets girl", but this is not a love story. It begins with Tom(Joseph Gordon Levitt), a greeting card writer and an aspiring architect falls head over heels for the newly appointed coworker Summer(Zooey Deschanel). Tom is an out and out romantic, who believes in surreal ideas on love and destiny, and is convinced that he has found his "soulmate" in Summer. She, on the other hand is the exact anti-thesis to his character, with events from the past having left her devoid of any feeling of emotion. The movie takes you through how, despite their differences, they find deep attraction for each other. And how, despite of the "love" they share, they cannot deny the differences in the way they view the subject. It's a story of their struggle to find happiness within the confines of "incompatible love". So much for not spoiling the movie, the end is somewhat of a "happily ever after" in a truly unconventional sense that literally haunts you.
The movie follows a nonlinear storyline, depicting the dynamics of Tom and Summer's relationship, which has been executed brilliantly, being a first for a movie of its genre. As the narrative progresses, the graphic imagery unfolds with extremely good shots and THIS magnificient transition effect, in which the scene dips to a charcoal drawing, that makes for some amazing visual impact.
The casting director, Eyde Belasco has done a wonderful job, with Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel fitting the bills for their characters perfectly. They make you feel what they feel, with performances that exude emotion. You can relate to each character and by the time the movie ends, you feel deeply for each of them. The two main characters are supported by very strong writing. The only thing the movie lacks, being maybe, to point one thing out, the way the other characters are pushed too much to the fringe. The only other character that gets a decent amount of screen time is Tom's little sister. And she is annoying.
The movie delivers in the way that it feels real, in the way that you can see yourself in those two characters. For a change, this time it's not a tale of damsel in distress and Prince Charming. It's about a beginning that leads to an end and the protagonist has no idea how. It's the movie that comes close to a seemingly true depiction of love. In that way, it's the Annie Hall of our times.
The soundtrack is in a league of its own. It complements the movie, start to end, featuring tracks by Regina Spektor and The Smiths among others. To say the least, the soundtrack "evokes emotion", much like the movie.
I would close by saying that with the way you want the movie to just a little longer despite having a runtime of over two hours, the movie does what it set out to do. IMDb could be a little more generous to a movie that has revived the genre of "rom-com". Final verdict: Catch it, if you already haven't.