Movie Review: “(500) Days of Summer” (2009): Sweet yet solemn PG-13 romantic comedy with a realistic view of how love can be and often is.

Fox Searchlight has enriched the summer season immensely with a quirky and ultimately uplifting romantic comedy. If I had enough time and a couple glasses of wine, I could cite 500 reasons for going to this film. Suffice it to say that on a predicted hot weekend in Portland, Oregon, I’m going with my gut feelings. Suggest you buy your tickets now for this touching roller-coaster ride love story.

Handsome actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (whom I have adored since his days in the TV hit “3rd Rock from the Sun”) plays Tom Hansen. Zooey Deschanel (beautiful and talented with those gorgeous eyes) plays his illusive love named Summer Finn. Tom is a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic who once considered a career in architecture, but let it slip away. Summer becomes his office romance just briefly, but then dumps him. The timeline in the film shifts back and forth during their 500 day romance as Tom tries to unravel the Gordian knot and figure out what went awry. How he extracts himself from his situation is quite heart-rending. Ultimately, he reflects about his life until the final resolution. The path of love is meandering and unpredictable. Each relationship has its place in a lifetime of affections.

This is definitely not a formulaic romantic comedy and therein lies its charm. You’ll find the story prickly yet expansive, funny and sad. I ached for both main characters, laughed at their friends trying to help them. The film hits just the right note: a realistic, meandering chronicle of love’s highs and lows. The movie definitely doesn’t quite go where an audience might think it will. Even a yuppie senior curmudgeon can love this film.

I wish I could ask director Marc Webb why there are brackets around the number 500. I’ll use them without an explanation here. This movie deserves an ‘A’ on Ellen’s Entertainment Report Card.

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for sexual material and language)
Cast: Zooey Deschanel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Geoffrey Arend, Clark Gregg, Chloe Moretz, Minka Kelly and Rachel Boston
Director: Marc Webb
Writers: Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes


Ellen Kimball is a TV and radio pioneer. She was selected as a co-host of a local, live children's television show at WTVJ-TV. Ch. 4 in Miami, Florida, during her freshman year in college. She has been working in communications for more than five decades. Ellen is one of the first women in the U.S. to host her own daily radio call-in talk shows at major market stations in Miami and Boston. Ellen and her husband moved to Beaverton, Oregon eleven years ago. She currently contributes her reviews on films, theater and other entertainment to, the website of Ch. 8, the NBC-TV affiliate in Portland, Oregon.

Friday, July 24, 2009