20 things I love about (500) Days of Summer

This is a very special film for me. It’s one of the films I have seen countless times and something that I watch over and over, always finding something new to warm my insides or get butterflies in my belly.


Architecture is a common theme throughout the film. Tom could have been doing anything — painting, making ceramic pots, designing goddamn clothes. Instead, they gave way to some uniquely gorgeous scenes and perspectives. Tom being an architect made all of us watch the surroundings differently — and for me, well, it was what made me start looking up. And it is a whole new world up there.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

500 Days of Summer was my first introduction to Joseph Gordon-Levitt and of course, I fell in love with him. Unlike Zooey Deschanel, who is cute, but only has one look to her, Levitt is incredible. He’s so subtle. He gives Tom this charm that makes us forget how naive he is and wraps us around his — or perhaps his character’s — finger. And I’m totally cool with it.


One of the most famous sequences from the film uses split-screen. Split-screen can work, but it’s not easy to make it so. Here, we have loud music and sound from both screens all at once, but instead of being cluttered, it feels natural and makes the situation completely come to life.

the ikea scene

As much shit as there is with this particular love story, there are lovely moments, too. Tom and Summer browsing through Ikea as if it was their home is one of the sweetest and funniest scenes, one that is very hard to forget.

epic dancing in the streets

Tom is so happy, how could I not be??

the narrator

The narrator who leads us through this film is like a witty grandfather who watches kids play and gives his opinion without judgement, but with wisdom, not interfering at all. He is all I wouldn’t know I wanted if he was omitted. I love that guy.

role reversal

In one of the first scenes in the film, a friend of Tom’s says Summer is a dude. See, she doesn’t want a boyfriend. This is unintelligible for both Tom and his friend. I think it’s unintelligible for many people in the world, and I’d say one of the reasons 500 Days of Summer is dubbed as an original romantic comedy is that we’ve seen guy-Summer a lot, usually as the previous boyfriend to the main female character. Summer is a jerk, but that doesn’t have anything to do with breaking Tom’s heart — she says it right from the start. She’s not looking for anything serious yet. And I think this is really interesting and makes this film so worth watching.

the laughs

The sense of humor that Tom and Summer have is fantastic on its own, but we also get outside humor. “They used to call me Anal Girl” pretty much sets the mood in the very beginning and it’s never lame or crude, but resonates perfectly with me. Not always light, but always what I need watching this film.

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.

Well, didn’t that intrigue me from the start…

Tom’s friends

As Tom chases after Summer, hits and misses time and time again, his friends are always there, sometimes more annoyed, sometimes less. They are hilarious and adorable. Tom deserves them.

the non-linear narrative

This is something that really sets this film apart from others. We never get to experience anything like Tom or Summer did, but we get to see their story unroll in a much more interesting way. It’s created beautifully. There is no better word for it.

the soundtrack

Once on vacation, I sat in the sun for two hours and listened this film’s soundtrack from beginning to end and quite honestly, it is a perfect recap of the film. Every piece of music is not only picked perfectly for the scenes but are also great songs. Carla Bruni, Regina Spektor, Simon & Garfunkel and The Smiths all fit in there and make this film feel like home even without watching.

opening credits

We’re shown, not told, about how both Tom and Summer grow up as the opening credits roll. We get a background story that doesn’t feel like a waste of time or as something to skip. And Regina Spektor’s Us makes it all the more perfect.


You have to remember this scene. (I’ve played this a few times and it’s as uncomfortable and liberating as it looks.)

feeling confident?

A stroke of pure genius.

the silent film

When I saw the film first, I had no idea what was Persona or who was Bergman. But even without knowing them, I loved this addition as one of the things that so well and sadly showed us how depressed Tom was over Summer.

Tom singing karaoke

This was so cool! Tom is great, but a drunk Tom is even better. And funnier.

lovesick Tom complaining to his blind date

“She took a giant shit on my face. Literally.”
“Well, no, not literally. That’s disgusting. What’s wrong with you?”

I don’t think I’ll ever get over this.


This is an important thing! At one and a half hours, this film is perfect to fit in anywhere. It’s sweet and funny and extremely well-made and there is so much beauty to look at. Even some lessons to be learned.

the ending

I hate sad endings. I don’t like admitting it as happy endings are seen as clichés so often, but I never really get rid of the feeling of betrayal when a film doesn’t tie up nicely — literally. Especially when it’s a romantic comedy. There has to be hope, and here it is. We can all hope that Autumn is less of a bitch than Summer was, and that Tom’s brains have toughened up a bit.


So, what do you think of (500) Days of Summer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt? It is as rewatchable for you as it is for me?

50 responses to “20 things I love about (500) Days of Summer

  1. I love this film! and this is such a great post, the ikea scene is a favourite, whilst the lines “honey there’s a Chinese family in our bathroom” is great! The acting is great, narrator, soundtrack! Whilst it is also so different, definitely rewatchable

  2. I’ve never seen it but this post was good fun!

  3. Nice post! You really highlighted some of the best parts in the film!

  4. Such a great post Elina! I need to watch this again ASAP. Joseph dancing to Hall and Oates is one of my favorite scenes of many. The Expectations vs Reality is a close second; Regina Spektor’s song was a perfect fit.

    • Thanks, Katy, and for the tweet, too! I began listening to Regina after this and I looove her. It was such a lovely thing to see again, made my day a bit lighter.

  5. Enjoyed this – I haven’t seen it – you make it sound intriguing so I’ve added it to my watch list!

  6. Love this post! The reasons why I love this film are pretty much the same. It’s such an original romantic film and blew my expectations away. Love a bit of Joseph Gordon-Levitt too. I need to rewatch it!

  7. There’s so much to love here. But what it really comes down to, for me, is that it’s a movie that changed my life and had me looking at things in a bit of a better light. I know it sounds corny and all, but it meant the world to me, at the time that i saw it. Lovely post!

    • Thank you so much, Dan! I have those films too, which are hard to understand by others how they can change your life. This film has done a lot for me over the years, too.

  8. Fantastic piece! I am a huge fan of this movie, I really think it is brilliant, it makes me laugh and is very well put together. I love how he talks about how he loves her heart shaped birthmark, and later bitches about how he hates her cockroach shaped birthmark. Things like that… definitely rewatchable.

    First time you saw JGL? MAN I love this guy, I have loved him since Third Rock From The Sun! So worth watching!

    • I never watched Third Rock From The Sun! I regret it to this day. I’ve watched his earlier work afterwards, but this was the introduction, and I’ve never looked back.

      The birthmark part really cracks me up. There are so many little things that make this film watching. Glad you love it as much as I do!

      • I am thrilled that you have found him, and I am glad that recently he has been appearing in a lot more, he is exceptionally talented!

        It’s the little things that count! 😛

  9. Awesome post! Makes me want to see the movie right now! All the best points of the film are here, and very spot on.

    • Glad you liked it! I’m always so dissatisfied with these posts as I publish them, but the next day I find that they’re actually just as I wanted… 😀

  10. Great post Elina! This is such a refreshing rom-com and it’s not afraid to take a few risks. The expectations/reality scene reminds me of everything I love about Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. I’ll definitely revisit 500 Days Of Summer again.

  11. It’s a lovely film and you’ve summed up the best parts beautifully. The ending was a bit too much of a cop out for me though. Too optimistic

    • Glad you liked it! I don’t advertise it because it hurts my credibility as a cool film blogger, but I’m actually a very sappy person who loves happy endings. Totally get why you wouldn’t like it, though. Thanks for stopping by, Mickey!

  12. Very cool film and very cool post! Good work! It gets a little too quirky for me in places this one but I still thought it was a great watch.

  13. I LOVE this post! It’s such a great movie, and I love all the things you pointed out too. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is seriously the best.

  14. Great post! I LOVE this film, can’t fault it in any way!

  15. Great list! I really like this movie – the soundtrack and the humor were so charming and it was definitely one of the most clever recent romantic comedies.

  16. Couldn’t agree more! This movie is amazing. Great list!

  17. Great review. This is a wonderful film and Joseph Gordon Levitt is so good in this film.

  18. Great breakdown of the movie , very good read, thanks

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  20. Pingback: Random Things › <b>20 things</b> I love about (500) Days of Summer | Films and Coke

  21. Love this post, love this movie! Yay! Very cool idea.

  22. Great post – I love this movie. It’s smart and charming and I’d say one of the few realistic ‘rom-coms’ – Levitt is optimistic and kind of naive, and really doesn’t really learn much. Musical tastes don’t equal a mature relationship, and I love how we never really see Summer, just his idea of her. It goes really well with ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ one of the other rare realistic romance movies.

  23. I don’t know, I hated this film I guess because I thought Zooey was such a Biatch in it. We all have our opinions though.

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