500 Days of Summer deserved to be nominated. During our impromptu Oscar gathering, I went a little Rainman. "Write it down. Did you write it down? An Education and 500 Days of Summer. Now." Then I repeated it. And again.
500 Days of summer isn’t exactly the story of Boy Meets Girl, Loses Girl, Gets Girl Back–and yet, it fit the criteria: the feeling criteria. When I see a romantic comedy, I don’t look to laugh; I look to feel. And thank God, because so few of them are actually funny. And I’m fine with that.
All I want is to be surprised and to think. Most romantic comedies set up a problem that seems insurmountable, then they go ahead and pull a Houdini, bringing the impossible back to possible, then leave us with a sense of happily ever after. This wasn’t that movie.
500 Days of Summer made me think. It’s a non-linear script, showing us 500 (or so) days in a real relationship, only we don’t see the days in order. It’s this juxtaposition that creates the comedy. Experiencing the greatest relationship high, when your favorite colors seems brighter, when strangers smile at you, then pat you on the back, then lift you onto their shoulders and bust into a musical number, complete with cartoon birds, with all of us whistling to the office, with the whole world in our hands. The elevator doors close behind us… and then… flip. Another day. What day will this be? We don’t need to ask. It’s on his face. The elevator doors open, and we see "mud face." The face that hurts, the one that’s too hurt to move. It’s the very worst day of your relationship. And it’s wonderful (for us). Delicious. We laugh. Because we know. We so know.
And we like remembering because it’s not us this time, but we can feel it with you. It’s what makes this movie feel so real. I felt along with them, felt all giddy, falling in love just as they did, remembering what lust feels like, remembering what it’s like when you have tension, when there’s a chase, firsts, when in a moment someone’s mood can shift and just like that they can leave, in the middle of the night. All the small things about falling in love, the way you can’t help but want to rush things, to use the "L word," the "M word," to look at the way your hands fit together, to catch him watching you in the mirror when you’re getting ready, and wondering if you’ll be doing just that for the next 60 years. I love all the little moments of rapture, the getting-to-know-you process, and I love the idea of playing with how that infatuation and the idea of destiny, fate, and love contrast with our internal gears, our neediness, our patterns and habits, our familiar, our needs, clingy-ness, self-esteem, and how much all that creates the emphasis we place on all the rest.
I love most the smaller moments, the way she falls asleep on his shoulder on a train, and I remember moments in my life when that moment was the moment.
The film reminded me that my high of choice is love. I love the idea of being in love and am, by far, infatuation-centric. I want so much to live there, with a Pantene shine, a colorful gathered skirt flowing with each step. The way it happens in the movies.