A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that (500) Days of Summer is a smart romantic dramedy that's age-appropriate for teens and up, but its thoughtful exploration of relationships may speak more to those in college and older. It has a sweet-yet-realistic view of relationships that’s refreshing given the usual formulaic dreck in this genre. Do expect some frank talk about sex (as well as some kissing and an implied shower sex scene), drinking (sometimes to excess), and swearing (including one "f--k").
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, young architect Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) doesn’t spend his days making buildings; instead, he’s got a job designing pithy emotional appeals for a greeting card company. The arrival of new office assistant Summer (Zooey Deschanel) jolts him out of his routine, plunging him into the confusing, exciting morass known as “falling in love.” Their relationship lasts for 500 up-and-down days that unfold in a dizzying array. Over its course, Tom and Summer discover that love is never enough but, at the same time, bewilderingly worth all the trouble.
Is it any good?
For those who feel that the romantic comedy genre is irrevocably broken and that nothing original will ever surface: Dump the cynicism. (500) Days of Summer is the kind of movie that will make believers have faith again -- both in Hollywood and in love. Director Marc Webb’s glee in making the film is apparent; he approaches storytelling loosely, letting the movie breathe. He plays with time and memories, much as the mind does when recalling the moments that make or break relationships. The stellar soundtrack only heightens the pleasure.
And the plot: It follows some typical conventions, but only just. Rather than simply recounting how boy meets girl and following along for the roller-coaster ride that follows (as does nearly every film in this genre), it attempts to answer a very complicated question that we’ve all asked at some juncture in our romantic histories: What's the point of falling deeply, madly in love with someone who may not be "the one"? The movie's stars are up to the challenge of tackling this heartfelt question (though the supporting cast could have used some shuffling): Deschanel is perfect as Summer -- elusive but earthy, substantive, vulnerable, compelling. In short, the kind of girl to confound. And Gordon-Levitt: All hail the generous-hearted, deep-thinking, cute guy. Finally, he's here.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about relationships. What makes them work or fail? How does (500) Days of Summer handle this topic? What makes Tom and Summer's relationship more realistic than other movie pairings?
Do Tom's career issues also seem realistic? Is his struggle typical of college grads these days? Why does he continue to write greeting cards when that’s not his calling?
- In theaters: July 17, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: December 22, 2009
- Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Gray Gubler, Zooey Deschanel
- Director: Marc Webb
- Studio: Fox Searchlight
- Genre: Romance
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual material and language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
For kids who love romance
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