Growing up in an age of extreme technological evolution and influence has created an Industrial Revolution with a 21st Century twist on my generation. And, by my generation I mean anyone aged 18 to 25.
This revolution has had it's goods (AIM, iPhones, iPods, super computer cellphones, etc...) and bads (general feeling of obsoleteness, lack of passions or cares, rampant materialism, etc...) to which I am certain the bads have outweighed the goods (call me Romantic, I don't care). This horrible imbalance has created a shift in romance among todays youth. A shift that I don't understand and still trying to figure out. Luckily, a film like 500 Days of Summer has been created to perfectly execute and display the "Tech Generation"'s views on love and romance.
500 Days of Summer is not just an excellently communicative and creatively written story, it's a very well thought out and thoroughly made film. Finally, a director (Marc Webb) has arrived who still cares about the essential and unique aspect of cinema of being able to replicate and further tell the story at hand through aspects such as costumes and mise-en-scene (what is put in the frame).
The story is about Summer and Tom. A boy meets girl but not a normal one, as the narrator will explain to you (this film, by the way, has an excellent balance between narration and character dialogue. Nearly perfect.). Summer believes love is fake, Tom believes thoroughly in it as well as fate. Tom, represents the old kind of romance, the one that's dying, the one that people of a technologically-limited generation grew up with and existed in. Summer represents the new romance that has confused the hell out of me as well our Tom.
Summer is fickle and teasing. Yet, when she's on she's on and when she's off, well, she's dead fucking off. The two blossom a romance despite her warning of only wanting something casual. What is casual? What is not casual? How is this difference defined? Is it by emotional investment? Time investment? Is it strictly one sided or does it have to be mutual? Either way, Summer knows what she wants.
She wants the good without the bad. She wants the pleasure of being loved by someone, the unique feeling of being special and appreciated, without the risk of failure, or disaster. This is shown by the influence her parents divorce has had on her (another side effect of being part of the Tech Generation: 50% divorce failure/success rate.). This not only want but execution of the act of only giving enough to reap the benefits and keeping enough to save yourself if it goes to shit may seem universal, but has lead to much conflict in relationships; as displayed in this film.
Tom is much more old fashioned: You can't treat somebody special without being a couple. Friends don't just hold hands in Ikea, have shower sex and sleep overs. Tom thinks they're a couple. Tom gets his heart broken because in this situation girls will bring up the theory of being "just friends".
Apparently the shift in romance has created a shift in what's Platonic and what is not. Is this culture looser? Or looking for love without hurt? Being special without the worry of losing it?
I sympathize with Tom, while, at the same time, the character arc he goes through and the ending he comes to is satisfying (trying not to reveal too much). He grows, in the end, and two hours later we grow with him. I still may be perplexed by the modern female (as to be expected forever) but this film helps one understand the dynamic between the two modern sexes. And, it does it in a way that fulfills all the classical aspects of the film language. My hat goes off to 500 Days of Summer. It is officially included in my heart as well as artistic Canon.