It’s been 10 years, or 3,652 days, since 500 Days of Summer debuted in movie theatres worldwide.
It had all the tropes of a naughties-era rom-com, but with an ironic, hipster twist. There was a killer soundtrack, a meet-cute between a boy and girl and a leading lady with an enviable haircut, but underpinning it all was the failed relationship between Summer and Tom.
And I will staunchly defend it as the best rom-com, or well… anti rom-com, that came out of the 2000s. I’d even go as far to say that watching it 10 years later, the film feels even more relevant, but not because it watches like a love letter to indie hipster culture, but because it’s one of the more accurate representations of what it’s actually like dating in your early-20s, when self-obsession outweighs self-awareness.
Watch the trailer for 500 Days of Summer below. Post continues after video.
In 2019, Tom’s character, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, would be a soft boi. The greeting card writer / wannabe architect (the character plays itself) confuses a shared taste in music with true love and believes he should get the girl simply because he’s a ‘nice guy’.
The post-2009 critique of his character is that for all Tom’s idiosyncratic, ‘nice guy’ tendencies, he is a disillusioned, undercover douche bag. The kind who chooses to pepper a normal, average existence with a love of old-school and obscure indie bands and a niche enthusiasm for LA architecture. To him, Zooey Deschanel’s Summer was always a projection of his Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasies and when his unrealistic expectations come crashing down, he becomes bitter, whiny, and self-indulgent.