3 Interpretations of Summer

3 Interpretations of Summer


Every generation has a movie that defines an era. It’s like everyone you know has seen it. And especially in films about love or
coming of age, it represents that time period. The music, the fashion, and our outlook on life. Coincidentally, it’s the tenth
anniversary of 500 Days of Summer, a not quite romantic dramedy about Tom and Summer. But the thing about these
generational films is that we grow older. Our perspective changes, and so over time, we may
have different interpretations of the same film. Tom is a Romantic. He’s built his identity around movies and songs. He’s an artist. And he works as a
writer for a greeting card company. – I love us. – He meets Summer and falls in
love with her. But there’s a catch. – I’m not… …really looking for anything serious. Is that okay? – Yeah. – So the film shows us their relationship,
how it starts and how it eventually falls apart. – I think we should stop seeing each other. – Just like that?
– Just like that! – A lot of people sympathize with Tom on their
first viewing because he’s the main character. It’s his perspective, so we get to see
when he’s happy and when he’s depressed. But I think there’s more to it than that. It starts with our perception of love to begin with. The people that watch romantic
comedies already identify with love. In the same way that you’re
rooting for a team in a sports movie. We’re here to win, and the game is love. Writers will tell you that passivity is boring. And that’s why great screenplays
have characters with strong motivations. Our empathy for fictional characters has more
to do with how much they want something… – I want to get her back. – …and not always what they want. So the idea of pursuing someone romantically has been
conflated with screenwriting proactivity since forever. And being wanted is attractive. – Do you like me? – The film is also stylistic. There’s the obvious stuff like a
dance routine after they first have sex. But the fashion, the music, and the cinematic
devices support Tom’s pop-culture idea of love. For instance, Summer always wears
blue to match Zooey Deschanel’s eyes. And it’s no secret that
500 Days of Summer is a hipster movie, meaning it fetishizes media
outside of the mainstream. Tom and Summer wear classy vintage clothes. The soundtrack features older songs
by Simon and Garfunkel and the Smiths, while introducing modern underground
music by Feist and Regina Spektor. Tom dreams in parodies of Ingmar Bergman. And at different points, the film uses a
square aspect ratio with rounded corners, even during split screens, which
evokes older films and album covers. You may disagree with Tom’s romantic viewpoint,
but the film is an indie pop-song love-fetish in itself. And that’s why we like it. I don’t think the filmmakers realized how much of a
backlash that Summer’s character was going to get. – I’m just always surprised when women will
be like, “I hated your character in that movie!” And I’m like, “Really?” – Because everything about it screams
Tom has the right idea, just not about Summer. – Tom was right.
– No. – Yeah, I did. It just wasn’t me that you were right about. – And at the end he meets a woman named Autumn,
assuring him that he’s met the love of his life. A year ago, I made a video about Don Jon, which I
think was Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s way of exaggerating some of the ambiguous parts of 500 Days of Summer. Both films subvert the romantic comedy formula by
using a dashing lead with misguided ideas about love that he has to unlearn in some way. But there are a few differences that
make Don Jon’s message a little clearer. First, Jon’s expectations for love are all external. He’s pressured by his parents, his friends,
his girlfriend, and society to be someone he isn’t. But Tom knows who he is,
and he knows what he wants. Second, Jon’s expectations are more ambitious. He’s thinking about living
together, and marriage, and kids. Tom probably wants those things too, but his only goal in the movie is to be in
a committed relationship with Summer. And finally, the characters in Don Jon
have expectations for their partner that they’re unwilling to match themselves. For instance, Jon is constantly disappointed
that his partners aren’t very enthusiastic when it comes to oral sex. But he’s not enthusiastic about giving it either. (Jon): There’s nothing good about this. – Barbara wants a man who will do anything for her… – When a real man loves a woman,
he doesn’t mind doing things for her. All right? He’ll do anything for her. – …but she’s unwilling to compromise on anything. – We’re not talking about this anymore. – Tom on the other hand is fully romantic. So it’s fair to expect his partner
to be as romantic as he is. The problem is… …Summer is a Cynic. (Summer): Let me break it down for you.
(McKenzie): Break it down. – Okay, I…like being on my own. Relationships are messy,
and people’s feelings get hurt. Who needs it? – Now at first, a cynical attitude can
sound pessimistic and maybe even unhappy. Especially coming off the heels of
someone so bright and optimistic. But look at how miserable
Tom is throughout the movie. Summer wants to be happier by having
realistic expectations about her relationships. – You’re happy?
– You’re not? – Well, all we do is argue. – That is bullshit! – After a couple of heartbreaks, people stop
looking for every new relationship to be the one. The novelty wears off, and love becomes seasonal. – I need to know that you’re not gonna…
wake up in the morning and feel differently. – But I can’t give you that. Nobody can. – So it’s easier to distance yourself from
partners because that feeling may go away. And nobody wants to be trapped. – I’m just tired.
– Okay. – Summer still likes music and pop culture though. It’s what they bond over. – You have good taste in music.
– You like the Smiths? – If Tom was listening to William Shatner’s
Tambourine Man, would she still liked him? – You like the Shat?
– [ LAUGHS ] – I don’t know, she’d probably like him more. – Come on, I love Ringo Starr! – Nobody loves Ringo Starr.
– That’s what I love about him. – It’s just that Summer doesn’t see
music as a sign of a soulmate. – Just cause some cute girl likes
the same bizarro crap you do… …that doesn’t make her your soulmate, Tom. – Just like she works at the same company as
Tom, but she doesn’t write the greeting cards. She’s an assistant. To her, it’s a job. You may notice the hearts everywhere
you shop closer to Valentine’s Day. Love is a commodity. Companies sell products with love,
and in turn, love starts to depend on products. – She’s the light that guides me home. Yes, that is one of our cards. No, someone else wrote it. It doesn’t make it less true. – I think people sympathize with
Summer when they’ve had enough. And a lot of that starts by
realizing all of Tom’s mistakes. He doesn’t listen when Summer tells him
upfront that she doesn’t want a serious relationship. – Summer is…completely honest…
– And upfront… – …the entire movie.
– …from the beginning. – That’s right. – He doesn’t listen to his friends
when they try to give him realistic advice. – I think it’s kind of like how they say,
“There’s uh…there’s plenty of other fish in the sea.” – No. – They–they say that.
– Well, they’re lying. – He’s stuck in his own dream world,
and he never learns his lesson. So he keeps making the same mistakes. – It’s Amanda Heller all over again. – So meeting Autumn can be seen as destiny,
but it can also illustrate how deluded Tom is. And to this day, Joseph Gordon-Levitt encourages
viewers to watch the film from Summer’s perspective, to understand what it’s about. So that’s it, right? Tom is stubborn and has silly ideas about love,
and Summer has it all figured out? Well, not exactly. After a breakup, we start playing the blame game. They did this, and they did that. And if we’re self-aware enough, we might
admit our own mistakes in a relationship. But unless something goes horribly wrong… – Sid stabbed Nancy. – …most relationships end because of compatibility. By sympathizing with Tom or Summer, the first two interpretations,
the corollary is that the other person is wrong. Compatibility means focusing less on the shortcomings
of individuals, and more on their problems together. I can’t say either way that Romanticism or
Cynicism is the only way to behave in a relationship. Because it depends. Just like I can’t say there’s only
one way to interpret The Graduate. I think this is shown best in the
‘Expectation Versus Reality’ scene. It represents their two philosophies clashing. – There’s no such thing as love. It’s a fantasy. – Well, I think you’re wrong. – Can they exist at the same time? I don’t know, it depends on how
people reconcile their differences. Somebody has to compromise. But if the biggest issue in a relationship is the
definition of that relationship, then probably not. – Well you’re not the only one
who gets a say in this! I do too! And I say we’re a couple, goddammit! – Intimacy can come in different forms. Sometimes a stranger can feel the closest to you. Or you can share your whole life with someone
without wanting to commit to them forever. – I’ve never told anybody that before. – But as much as Tom
idolizes Summer, she knows that. She makes the first move. – So that was…fun the other night. – So both of them enter a relationship knowing that they
fundamentally disagree on what their relationship is. And jumping around narratively
shows the consequences of that. First, a scene where Summer reassures Tom. – I’m happy. Aren’t you happy?
– Yeah. – Then two scenes later, they’re arguing about it. – This is not how you treat your friend! Kissing in the copy room. Holding hands in Ikea. Shower sex! Come on, friends my balls! – For Summer, it’s as simple as: – Because I wanted to. – You just do what you want, don’t you? – But why did Tom agree to a casual relationship,
other than he really wanted to be with her? Maybe Tom felt like he could change Summer. How many of us have entered a relationship thinking
we can love someone enough that they’ll change? Maybe Tom thought summer could change him. Some people call Summer
a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a term coined by Nathan Rabin
criticizing the film Elizabethtown. He writes, “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely in
the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace
life and it’s infinite mysteries and adventures.” – I want you…to get into the deep, beautiful
melancholy of everything that’s happened. – But since then, the term has bloated into a blanket
description of any offbeat/quirky/bohemian girl, which is why Rabin has disowned the term. Because having pink hair, or a big hat,
or a ukulele can be unfairly labeled as a male fantasy. But still, it’s a pretty good
shorthand for that type of character. She says weird things. – They used to call me anal girl.
– [ SPITS ] – She has weird taste. She’s open about her sexuality,
with men and women. And either she makes the first move so our sensitive
main character doesn’t have to do any heavy lifting, or she’s just out of reach so
our guy is constantly chasing her. Or both, in this case. I bring it up though because it’s a neutral
term to me, neither positive nor negative… …which is what this video is about. You can look at Summer as an evasive,
promiscuous ingénue who’s in and out of Tom’s life so he can learn a big lesson at the end. Or she’s an independent character
who illustrates how possessive Tom is. I think both can be true. Summer motivates Tom to be an architect,
and she moves on and gets married. – You never wanted to be anybody’s girlfriend,
and now you’re…somebody’s wife. – It surprised me too.
– I don’t think I’ll ever understand that. – Summer’s marriage may seem like a
180 flip, but people change. That’s life. It’s just that Tom wasn’t the one who
made it happen, like he was hoping. Change can’t be forced. You can’t say all the right things, sing the
right songs, or love someone enough. And maybe it hurts to realize the people we
love are more compatible with somebody else. – I really do hope that you’re happy. – Hopefully our interpretations reflect our own growth,
not projecting our Romanticism or Cynicism, but finding someone who complements us. And if we can’t, learning to step back and say: – I guess we can just agree to disagree. – Yeah.

100 thoughts on “3 Interpretations of Summer

  1. i totaly agree with u but they both made a mistake she shouldve left him from the bigining of the arelationhip when she noticed how attached he is to her and he shouldn't accept and stay in the relationship when she said that she doesn't want anything serious from my prespective of samer personalty she considered him as a rebound p0erson she got heart broken before and stopped believing in true love and a serious relationship she was afraid of being heart broken she met tom she knew she can't be in love with him so he cant hurt him no matter what she stayed with him cause she needed a man but not love she wanted sex and a friend and coddle and he can give her that and she wasn't feeling guilty cause she told him from the beginning i don't want anything serious and that she is unable to love him ,what made this movie succeed is that its soo damn realistic that u can feel how his heartbroken and me as agirle i can understand how she didnt see him as a husband but as just a rebound that shows how dengrouse relationship can be and how important to defind what the relaitonship is from the bigning

  2. All those fucking movies shows relationships in very stupid and shitty way, that don`t work in real life at all, thats why there is so much of unhappy people who watch all this "romantic movies" and use it as educational video.

  3. I spent years not liking the film because I hated Summer, while I was exactly like her. I guess I was not mature enough to really know myself. Now that I am less cynical about love and relationships, more caring about the other people's feelings and in some ways more like Tom, I finally understand what all the fuss is about. My comprehension and appreciation of the film seems to have come backwards. Curious to know if anybody else experienced something similar

  4. Yes. When you are in love that doesn't mean it will stay forever. But when its with you, cherish it and move on …hard but possible…moments shouldn't be missed ?????

  5. You just can't bait someone with romantic things to make you emotionally, pahysically and mentally happy just like that. At the end you won't settle with them and tell them straight that "We're just friend" to them. It's the suckest way to avoid responsibility of love also give a damage on them. And just remember, you'll be damaged too more than you damage them

  6. I hate how this video grounded me when i had my head in the clouds about a girl. but it grounded me and that’s what i needed.

  7. I don't comment on videos but this was incredibly well done and articulate. A great discussion of a film that's transcended. Thank you!

  8. Tom and summer is doing everything that people do in relationships together, but she doesnt want to be in one, thats why he so confused

  9. I love that my first time watching this all movie I thought was guess it doesn’t work out for this fella. Then second time round i saw his expectations he put on her verses the reality of the situation. Almost like we see it thru his eyes.Then third i was just admiring the stylistic portion of the movie. Everytime i watch it. I find i get something new.

  10. I just realized my experiences have turned me into a Summer. I don't think that highly of romance anymore because like summer says Emotions get involved, people gets hurt.

  11. You don't make love with another person if you don't want a serious thing. Either make it and state it as a one night stand or just don't do it.. this is a modern day problem.. people are inconsistent at everything. Fucking unbelieveable, what an unresponsibility, they use one another, i wanna kill these kind of people. They deserve a bag of shit.

  12. Ive been in this EXACT relationship. like, down to the sentences that were said, to the T. and been called posessive.

  13. Tom loved his imagery of Summer in his head; the fact that she liked the same music as him and how she was bright and happy as he liked his soulmate to be. But Summer wasn’t always happy and joyful as Tom wished her to be, she tells him that she doesn’t want anything serious, but Tom still agrees to be with Summer with the image in his head that as long as they are together, Summer will change. Summer is an independent individual that doesn’t have to live by Tom’s expectation.

  14. When i was 15 (in High school) the first time I ever watched this movie I thought it was such a romantic movie, and was confused why Summer didnt end up with Tom. and hated her like many people did.

    After rewatching it over and over again, I realised that it’s more realistic than most “romantic” films. And it’s sad because that’s just how life is. It’s not all rainbows and sunshines. and that’s why it’s such a good film, because it shows how life really is.

  15. It always bothered me how swiftly she got married. 500 days of summer is like 1 and half years, and yet Summer gets married like months after meeting the mystery man.

  16. Not gonna lie, came here to figure out if it's worth watching this movie even though its totally not my style of movie. (Buuuut it has Matthew Gray Gubler) XD

  17. I first watched this movie when I was 13, and now I’m 21 expecting my first child. it used to be one of favorites but now that I rewatch it, it’s more of a movie that’s shaped me profoundly and also my outlook on love, relationships and idealization / who you’re with and who they actually are VS. how you see them in your mind and what you want them to be and love you. reciprocity, heartbreak, compatibility and angst. definitely a great movie and can be interpreted in many ways/used as an example, but I can only watch when I’m in a particular mood lol.

  18. It just because tom didn't realize that summer want to have a good life in the scene of ikea store summer just look to the price and that scene is the key why tom can realize and want to learn to be what summer want cause summer just code to tom and after tom realize summer already enganged tom was just realize it . The pov is tom don't realize what summer want.

  19. Best explanation of this movie man. i have always felt that this movie was misunderstood and is quite often trashed by critics, for pandering to teenagers of yesteryear. But this movie works on different levels and if a movie is being discussed even 10 years later, they must have done something right. The music and cinematography, plus the chemistry between the actors is just perfect. Hope this movie gets the credit in due time.

  20. Oh God…woody allen…I feel like I need to wash now. Fucking POS. His own daughter publicly stated he molested her for years. He should be in prison.

  21. I would have agreed with the dual perspective but what this video leaves out is that… Summer was an asshole. She said couple things about being non serious but followed up behaving like she was in love as well. It's like saying you're not hungry then eating out of everyone else's plates. Hence the strong dislike of her character

  22. Theory:

    Summer dates a guy (future husband)
    Guy proposes to Summer
    She freaks out due to fear of commitment and runs away to new city (Tom's city)
    Summer and Tom meets. They start a casual relationship (fear of commitment again)
    In the cinema, Summer cries during a wedding scene. She realize that she loves her EX and wants to marry him.
    They break up..
    Summer goes back to EX and accepts his marriage proposal.
    The rest is history.

  23. I hate being this person BUT this is exactly what I’m going through rn and it hurts to see it laid out so thoroughly in front of my eyes. I’m Tom the unrealistic romantic and my Manic Pixie Dream Girl is “making me stronger” but also tearing me apart:)

  24. PSA: Manic Pixie Dream Girls always grow-up, age and become cynical. It's not a cute look at 50 and up… trust me. They become desperate and pitiful.

  25. This video makes me fall in love with the movie more and more, every time I see it. I can't explain this any better. Thank you!
    #MorePowerToYou

  26. I loved this movie because I could relate to both tom and summer. I've always been good at seeing things through the other person's perspective. It's probably because I've experienced what they have gone through. I know what it's like to be spontaneous with my decisions, like summer does. I also know what it's like to fall for someone at first sight, like tom did. Ive never related to characters so strongly before. It was so interesting.

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