Life Lessons from '500 Days of Summer'

I think Zoey Deschanel and Joseph Gordan-Levitt should get together in real life, marry and then contribute to the general improvement of the world by populating it with attractive, musically-gifted hipster children. Unfortunately the two say they're strictly platonic so there's another couple I can add to my 'Why Are You So Blind To Your Own Love' list.

Hello all. I watched a thing. It was called '500 Days of Summer' and I really liked it. I know this movie ain't exactly new (it was made in 2009) but I'd never seen it before so I'm sorry if this post is five years behind schedule. It shouldn't really matter though because I'm not reviewing it. I just wanted to talk about a couple of its key themes because I found the messages in the film so relatable.

This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront this is not a love story.

And what a shame it isn't, because as far as romcoms go, I found this to be one of the most accurate depictions of a budding romance between two people. Not saying that I know what it's really like ('cause I'm pretty sure you're supposed to have like, experience before you can claim that) but the interactions did seem genuine and the characters are drawn in such a way that you can't help recognise bits of yourself in there. I liked that the film addressed the whole awkward scoping out stage of a relationship (' you like like me?) and when the two were dating, it wasn't the kind of dating that involved moonlight and stars and really cheesy heartfelt declarations shouted to the world. No. These people went to Ikea and looked at furniture for fun.

Sidenote: What is it about couples hanging out at Ikea without the intent of buying anything? I saw it in this movie and have also heard of real-life couples hanging out there. Is Ikea a thing now? Is ready-to-assemble furniture an aphrodisiac? Am I missing something crucial? Somebody please explain me a thing.

I think one of the key messages of this film is that love is relative when it comes to people. Just because you feel a certain way about someone doesn't mean that that person feels the same. So just because Tom thought Summer was the one didn't mean that Summer recognised that same connection in Tom, even though it may have looked it on the surface. I was reading an interview with the writer of the script, Scott Neudstadter, and he said that the screenplay was based on a real-life experience of his. After a failed relationship with his own personal 'Summer', he and a co-writer created this script. He bumped into the ex-girlfriend when it was finished and sent her the script to read. Interestingly enough, she read it and then sent a letter back saying that she really identified with Tom. She didn't recognise herself in Summer at all which is testament to the fact that as humans, we tend to project our own feelings onto others. It comes as such a shock when you actually do realise that it was all in your mind and the other person had no idea. At all. So they weren't consciously orchestrating your crushing misery and rejection. That was all you.

And that's why unrequited love is such a bummer. I guess I am speaking a little bit from experience but then again, this is something that almost everyone out there can relate and attest to. You're unaware of it but you start to attribute so much significance to the interactions between you two. If they said something to you the other day, was there a double meaning to it? If they didn't pay attention, did you do something wrong? It's like when Tom interpreted Summer not reacting to his music as some form of disinterest or rejection when really, she just hadn't noticed. It is kind of pathetic but I guess that's why they say love turns you into a idiot.

As Summer said, sometimes life just gets in the way of relationships. People fall in love, people move on, some people just aren't in the right stage of their life to get into commitment and others just haven't met 'the one'. There are a lot of reasons why and the film managed to address that in a way that wasn't too cliched. I thought that was cool.

And because I'm having like a massive brain fart at 1:10am at night I'm just going to list the rest of what I found relatable from the film. Sorry. This is probably the least elegant end to a post ever but I just can't do it. Give me a break, okay? I just finished my last assessment for Semester 1 of university today(!)

  • "People don't realize this, but loneliness is underrated."
  • When Tom admitted to not having seen that girl from the interview before and she said, "Well you must not have been looking." I felt like that summed everything up nicely because while Tom was too busy having his world crushed by Summer, he'd been too blind to notice that he was 'summering' (I totally just made up that verb) someone else. Again, the film places a lot of emphasis on timing.
  • Narrator: "Tom walked to her apartment, intoxicated by the promise of the evening. He believed that this time his expectations would align with reality..."
  • Rachel Hansen: "Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn't mean she's your soul mate."
  • Tom: "I love how she makes me feel, like anything's possible, or like life is worth it."

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