“It’s love, it’s not Santa Claus”
She just wasn’t the right person for you. It’s tough to realize it or accept it at the time because one is so infatuated and/or in love with a certain person. There are so many signals telling you that the two of you are not a good match but because of the good qualities in your significant other at the time, it’s hard to accept the truth. At the end of the day, all the heartbreak and moments of misery were totally worth it because they made you grow into a better person, one who will no longer make the same mistakes he or she made in their youth. That’s what (500) Days of Summer is all about.
Tom is so in love with the idea of Summer that he completely ignores all of the things that she has been telling him all along. From the get-go, she let him know what type person she was and what type of person she wasn’t. Tom was too blinded by the stunning beauty to actually take in any of what she was saying. While romantic comedies tell us that Tom and Summer should be together and/or belong with each other, any person actually watching the movie will realize that Tom and Summer are polar opposites and while the idea of the two as a couple is an attractive one, the reality of it says something completely different. In Tom’s eyes, Summer is perfection, but perfection has no depth. Summer’s not a girl, she’s a phase. Tom was just too close to the image to see the complete picture.
While the idea of soul-mates may be something straight out of the movies, one can be very happy with numerous people. But then what happens when the relationship runs out of steam? Then you just have two people who really aren’t that compatible. That’s what happens here. Only Tom is completely oblivious to it and instead Summer is forced to be the dickish voice of reason. While no one in the film is a villain, Summer, at times, is painted that way. But really she did nothing wrong as she had told Tom from the start that she wanted nothing serious. Where the audience is almost forced to hate her comes towards the end of the film. We as an audience, especially in romantic comedies, have been trained to believe that the two main characters will end up together no matter what, which is obviously not too realistic. Here it hits very close to home. We find out that there will be no happy ending for the two as a couple as it is revealed, in one of the most memorable movie scenes of all-time, that Summer is now engaged. Tom angrily walks off, tears in his eyes and heartbreaking music playing.
The film then enters its darkest phase as Tom in inconsolable. Everything that made him smile, now makes him depressed. Then one day, it’s all over. He finally accepts what Summer (and the audience) have known all along. Summer just wasn’t the one for Tom. In a final brilliant scene between the two, closure is reached. Tom sincerely wishes the best for Summer as he wonders (as do we) how this impulsive and somewhat cold woman will be able to maintain a loving relationship. She does let him know that he was right all along though and love is possible for even the greatest cynics. Tom goes off on his journey, with his head up and gets to walk away from Summer on a positive note. While the lines hurt (“I just knew what I never knew when I was with you” or “You never wanted to be someone’s girlfriend and now you’re somebody’s wife) they were needed.
Then when you least expect it, Summer is over and here comes Autumn (literally). Some will complain about the final scene and feel that it was too predictable and/or wasn’t needed but I feel it was both welcome and needed. Things do happen like that (it happened to me). You finally meet the person you actually know you should be with, have an instant connection and realize that the previous relationship, while both fun and miserable at times, shouldn’t have gotten to you so much. You realize it was merely a stepping stone to something greater. It was also needed because not only did it bring out good things, it also brought out many negative things and lessons of what should no longer be repeated. It brought growth. It was fun while it lasted, but ultimately it was not meant to be. You were just the last person to actually know this. I’ve had my heart broken before. Truly, truly broken. But when I look back at me in my heartbroken phase, it’s pretty hilarious, because it felt so much more extreme than it really was.
The beauty of this film is that it is very personal and gets me thinking about my own relationships and my own life. We’ve all hit rock bottom but at the end, there is always Autumn. The fact that this film can get me to go on and on about so many things or have me go in depth about so many things is a testament to what a great film it is. I didn’t even mention many of my favorite scenes like the dancing in the streets sequence, Summer crying while watching the end of The Graduate, etc. I could go on but really 900+ words probably is too much and I most likely have lost several of you by now. Maybe I’ll do a part two eventually that analyzes some other theme/aspect of this wonderful film. The fact that I can do that is a very good example of why this is at the top of my favorite movies list.