The Great Debate: “500 Days of Summer”

Team Summer: Emily Wells and Fatima Mirza, Senior Staff Writers

Tom from “500 Days of Summer” is without a doubt one of the most infuriatingly cliche hipsters ever to come to the big screen. He makes himself impossible to root for, because there’s nothing endearing about some naive twenty-something Smiths-listener who rides out his over-romanticization of the first decent looking “quirky indie” girl who shares his taste in music.

It’s a frightening depiction of how inexperienced guys like Tom attempt to relate to women: See cute girl with bangs. Find out cute girl has “substance” because she has somewhat similar interests. Relate on SO many levels (The Smiths, c’mon). Develop unhealthy, fantasized crush on girl. Become convinced that she is “the one,” even though she tells you she doesn’t want a relationship.

Tom’s younger sister, Rachel, is the only voice of reason in the movie. She captures the essence of Tom’s delusional tendencies best: “Just because some cute girl likes the same bizarro crap you do, doesn’t make her your soul mate.”

In conclusion, Joseph Gordon Levitt himself agrees that Tom was the character who was mainly at fault in the movie. He said, “It was a widely misinterpreted movie, I think…. People tend to say, “Why didn’t she end up with him? He was so nice!” But I think that he was really quite guilty of projecting a fantasy onto this girl that she didn’t necessarily deserve, and that, honestly, he was pretty wrapped up in his own selfish point of view… We’ve all been guilty of it. I’m sure I’ve done the same. And we all do it to one degree or another in every relationship. But it’s just funny to me, because I felt like the point of that movie was illuminating this guy who is basically delusional, who keeps projecting all these things onto this girl, and how that’s a problem for him, and how he then sort of grows out of it. But it seems like a lot of the people that see the movie don’t quite catch that. They just think he’s a great guy.”

Team Tom: Chris LoCascio and Kevin Keckeisen, Senior Staff Writers

“(500) Days of Summer” opens with the author’s note, “The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Especially you Jenny Beckman. Bitch.” Even before the film begins, the viewer is treated to an insight to the lead female character. The author’s crude description will soon fit her well.

In the diner scene at the beginning of the film, Summer compares their relationship to that of Sid and Nancy, which ultimately ended in murder. She then reveals that she is the murderer, leaving Tom to be the victim. Summer is acutely aware of her position as the wrongdoer in a relationship she refuses to even recognize.

She verbally denies that she is romantically involved with Tom, but her actions speak otherwise. Take for instance their date to Ikea. They roam around the store in different domestic spaces, pretending to be husband and wife. Then, just after she pulls Tom in for a kiss, she tells Tom that she doesn’t want a relationship. Only moments later as they’re walking away, she grabs hold of his hand. Once again, she says one thing and does another, sending mixed signals to Tom.

At the end of the film, she admits that she should have told Tom about her future husband. Her lack of guilt demonstrates a textbook example of psychopathy. She disrespects his very humanity, toys with him like a rag doll she’s no longer interested in, and tosses him into the trash for the dogs. When it comes to determining which of the two characters, Tom or Summer, is in the wrong, you must be a psychopath to think it’s not Summer.

 

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