Tom's a regular guy, doing his job, living his life and hoping to one day settle down with his soulmate. Although his degree is in architecture, much like many things in life, Tom has settled for a job writing greeting cards. He hangs out with friends, Paul (Matthew Gray Gubler), a doctor, and McKenzie (Geoffrey Arend), a fellow co-worker at New Hampshire Greeting Cards. Then one day his whole world turns upside down when Summer Finn starts working there as his boss's new assistant. Tom flips head over heels for Summer, but she is aloof and gets the reputation of being a stuck-up snob... until the fateful day they share an elevator together and she hears The Smiths playing in Tom's headphones. A shared love for The Smiths sparks a conversation which leads to friendship and eventually more. Right from the start, Summer tells Tom (and Mackenzie, actually) that she isn't a romantic at all and doesn't believe in love. She'd rather just be young, enjoy life and have fun, without the attachment of a serious relationship. Despite this, the two embark on a romance, if you were to give it a name, and Tom couldn't be happier. As their relationship goes on (since it really never "progresses" per se), Summer finds they are drifting apart and fighting, but Tom never sees it. Up until the moment she breaks up with him, he is clueless to what is going on around him. Summer even quits her job to further distance herself. Once she leaves him, Tom spirals into despair, trying everything he can to get her back, never coming to terms with the fact that she just isn't that into him. However, this despair forces him to make changes and he quits his job and begins pursuing a position in his true field. When a chance meeting at a former co-worker's wedding places them back in close proximity, Tom and Summer chat and dance together and she even invites him to a party at her apartment later that week. Tom thinks that surely they will get back together, but he lives in a fantasy world. It isn't until he is slapped in the face with bitter reality that he realizes that he was blind for much of their relationship. This realization allows him to start fresh, hopefully with the knowledge gained from his failed romance with Summer to help him as he starts anew.
What makes (500) Days of Summer so special is the way it is told. Tom's 500 days start with his meeting Summer and conclude with him getting over her and are told out of order. Instead of being confusing, it serves as a really interesting storytelling device, because the audience feels as much in the dark as Tom does throughout the relationship. We think everything is peachy-keen until she breaks it off and only then, as Tom re-examines the time leading up to their breakup, do we see how Summer views things. The days are introduced with a sketched greeting card scene of a park and a corresponding number, such a 1 for when he meets her. The early, happy days are sunny and the tree on the card is blossoming. However, as their relationship begins to wither, the card darkens. Since the movie skips around a good bit, it's fun to note what may be coming up based on the appearance of the intro card and what day it is. There is also an especially interesting scene when Tom goes to Summer's party after seeing her at the wedding. Half the screen is tagged as Reality and the other as Expectations. It's funny to see what is really happening and the way Tom is reading it, as he did throughout their relationship. This is some fine directing and really gave (500) Days of Summer its punch. There are also scenes were Tom is on top of the world and dancing in the streets, with everyone around him giving him high-fives, then other times, post-breakup, when the world is against him. It's good stuff and really adds to the charm of the film.
Gordon-Levitt and Deschanel have really good chemistry together and really make for a great movie-watching experience. However, Chloe Moretz as Tom's little sister, Rachel, is infinitely wise and steals every single scene she is in. The entire movie is really adorable and funny, although, yes, you are laughing at poor Tom's misfortune. I especially enjoyed the clever and witty writing and it's not uncommon to hear lines such as "he has the face of Brad Pitt and the abs of Jesus" when Tom's friends are describing who Summer must surely be cheating with. There are a good many more special features to be found in the Blu-ray version over the DVD and although the movie looks crisp and sounds great in high def, the main reason you'd pick it up on the new format would be to build your Blu-ray collection or for the additional special features. There are a handful of deleted/extended scenes, some footage from screen tests, Sundance footage, commentary, a music video, plus a few additional featurettes.
Overall, while not the typical romantic comedy, we really enjoyed this film. If you are looking for an romantic comedy that breaks away from the norm, but still manages to please in spades, check out (500) Days of Summer and you won't be disappointed.