NOTE: READ MY UPDATED REVIEW IN ADDITION TO THIS ONE.
FILM RATING: 4 stars
One of my favorite movies from 2009 was this little indie romcom (romantic comedy). It’s not my usual kind of movie since most romcoms have little story, little character development, and little emotion. But this movie has a heart and soul and mind that most romcoms (or chic flicks) simply don’t. It even sneaked into my Top100 movies of all time. What’s so interesting about this movie is that it’s really a modern male-centric flick. It’s all about being a young guy falling in love with a free spirited girl who breaks your heart. With the sexual revolution of the 60s up to today, the roles of men and women have swapped and many of today’s men are really more of the “woman” in relationships. They are the sweet, emotional, monogamous ones in the relationships with women who want to play the field and not be tied down. I’m by no means saying that every guy or girl fits into this mold, but I think its more common today for my generation (Gen X) and younger in our mixed bag culture of experimentation and growing up with strong mothers. We’re all learning how to become who we are instead of being told who we are as it used to be. And as part of that search, what guy or girl can’t relate to the experience of falling in love with someone and them not falling in love with you. Heart break is part of maturity and coming of age these days and this movie handles it in a funny but sophisticated way that speaks to me as a guy.
I’ve experienced EXACTLY what Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character Tom does in this movie…both in terms of career and relationships. And I guess that’s a huge part of what connected me to the story. But of course being an architect, it’s always cool when a movie involves an “architect” as Tom aspires to be. He starts as a naive and idealistic greeting card writer who meets Summer (Zooey Deschanel) and falls for her. As a filmmaker and storyteller, what really was “cutting edge” to me about this movie was the way the story was told. It’s a jumble of various “days” or moments in the relationship of Tom and Summer, jumping around from the beginning to the end and everything in the middle. It’s a clever way of showing the ups and downs of the rollercoaster that is every relationship. And an intriguing way to tell a movie. Even though the story jumps around, it still builds to a crescendo like most classic three-act stories.
It’s hard to compare this movie to The Hurt Locker or Avatar, which seem to be the front runners in the Oscar race, but in my book, this is definitely a contender for Best Picture 2009. Check it out on DVD or Bluray if you haven’t seen it yet. And be ready to laugh and cry and experience everything in between. A few stills from the movie that I love the look of: