(500) Days of Summer



Smart, fresh romcom is best for older teens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: July 16, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Romance
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Love doesn't conquer all in this romantic dramedy, but no matter how complicated or troublesome, it’s portrayed as being absolutely necessary. It has the power to change and serves a source of wisdom. The movie also realistically shows that love alone isn't necessarily enough to keep a relationship going -- it’s only one of a number of elements that need to exist.

Positive role models

In a pleasantly surprising role reversal from most romantic movies, the main male character is eager to embrace love in all its prickly splendor, and the woman is unafraid to question its necessity. And both characters are complex, rather than caricatures of their gender.


Loud arguing among couples. Some plate-breaking. A man punches another at a bar.


More talk than action -- there's some kissing and hugging, and one scene shows a couple supposedly trying to have sex in the shower (although all viewers see is rustling behind the shower curtain). There's also some frank discussion among friends about sex, including references to topics like hand jobs and anal sex. A young teenager counsels her older brother on how to navigate relationships.


Fairly frequent use of words like “bitch,” “screw,” “skank,” and “s--t,” plus one instance of "f--k." Other words include "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "ass," etc.


Logos for Twinkies, Tennessee whisky, and AT&T.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking. A few characters (of legal drinking age) get quite drunk at a karaoke bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the content in this smart romantic dramedy is 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").

What's the story?

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about relationships. What makes them work or fail? How does the movie 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?

  • How does the movie portray sex and drinking? What role do they play in the story and the characters' lives?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 17, 2009
DVD release date:December 22, 2009
Cast:Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Gray Gubler, Zooey Deschanel
Director:Marc Webb
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual material and language

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 4, 6, 9, 13, 15, and 16 year old Written bymama fischer May 7, 2010

good dose of truth about relationships.

I like the realism & perspective that a movie like this gives to teenagers who are often so dramatic about their relationships. The need to stay open to life's possibilities is a clear message.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written byaka Tinkerbell September 16, 2010
It is not a love story but it is a story of love. Some people may find it boring and some may find it romantic. I personally found it really funny and romantic but I have to come up and admit that the ending is a bit disappointing.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old June 17, 2011

(500) days of summer

the best romantic comedy of all time. and possibly my favorite movie of all time.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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