It's rare that a movie comes along that has it all. Usually the acting and the directing is great but the screenplay was a little off. Other times the script is almost perfect and the actors perform to their fullest but the director is uncreative and boring. And occasionally the director does a masterpiece with a flawless script but Julia Roberts is in it. That's not the case with this film; everything lined up perfectly. Director, Marc Webb, has knocked it out of the park with visuals that weren't shoehorned in for no reason but didn't chicken out with generic over-the-shoulder shots either. Not too bad considering this is his first movie and the last thing he did was a Jesse McCartney music video. The acting from stars Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt was perfection as they spun a web of chemistry that seemed like genuine love. Not too bad considering she did "The Happening" and he's the kid from "3rd Rock from the Sun." Too top it all off the script was written by two guys who made a romance movie that was funny, heartbreaking, and surreal yet painfully real. Not too bad considering that they also wrote "Pink Panther 2." It's as if fate wanted all these non-impressive people to come together to create this perfect romantic comedy...ironic given the plot of the movie. What makes me love this film so much was that it didn't set up the unreachable expectations that every other romance movie does. There aren't the sweeping romantic scenes on a hilltop or under a waterfall. There's no passionate kissing in the rain. There isn't even the impossibly romantic chance meetings or elaborate dates. It's two people and what happens to them in this relationship...in all its painfully plain highs and lows. It's so refreshing to see a romantic film that speaks to us instead of at us. Think about it. Most romance movies make you think "wouldn't that be SO romantic" or "I wish someone would do that to me" or "they're so lucky." Now imagine watching a romantic movie that makes you think "that's happened to me" and "I know EXACTLY how that feels." And while you're thinking that you bounce back and forth from having your gut shake with laughter and your eyes well with tears. I know it's a little early in the season and it's rare that movies like this pull it out, but I would say that this should be a serious contender for the Oscar for "Best Picture." If "Annie Hall" could do it, then I see no reason this couldn't. At the very least it deserves an award for being the first film to perfectly capture what it feels like to have sex with the biggest crush of your life for the first time. I know that's not an Oscar category but I'm sure it's an MTV Movie Award one, right?
(500) Days of Summer (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: A+