500 Days of Summer

Priority is elusive. But it can be a key as to how we can make each day count.

There is a vulnerability to the main characters in "500 Days of Summer". The protagonist - Summer (equivalently, Sid Vicious) .. is capable of only self inflicted pain and relationships with the semi-professional. She lives her life outside of that simple priority list. God. Family. Work. As does he.

And as have I. The last six years of my life, to be exact.

None of us really know why things just happened around her. But its likely because she made them happen. Summer is a Miracle. But the kind of miracle a woman can create. And as the main character of a film - it is a haunting reminder of just how easy it is to forget where we are and what we need to do.

What if you only have one chance? When life suddenly barrels in from out of the dark and it reads our mind and our heart and tears us open? What happens, when the white lion of thought comes for us in the midst of our chores and says...sleep.

That is what she did. Summer slept. She slept on beds at an Ikea store. She held her product placement Pepsi cup. She pushed a living relationship to sleep. She drew a line to the truth. Equivalently, God. Her very own miracle-co processor. The thing she needed to do most of all. She held the relationship in place, while he was in her orbit.

Summer was Sid Vicious.

The film unfolds in Los Angeles. A world in which society spits out broken pieces of status: money, art, film, culture. But at the heart of the film, is something simple.

It is the realization that you are prey. It is a story about a boy , and a girl. But it is also a story about feeding pattern. And the hunt. About emotional distance. And balance. And ultimately, self actualization. On one level , everyone knows a Summer. She is the one that changes the room when she walks in. And she is the one that, for better or for worse - often ends up alone.

And then, Summer was reading Dorian Gray, in a Delicatessen. And someone walked up and talked to her and she fell in love. The girl who could never fall in love. Just like that. But this film is about more than that - it is about following that love - and loving her prey enough to awaken him. She never abandons her lover. She simply sets him free.

What is the essence of this film? It is that each day is like day one out of that 500. Each woman is like summer. And we men, are all prey.

And its about escaping the Matrix. Its about making it in the real world. Its about being who we really are. In summer's case. A housewife. In yours, something else.

This kind of thing can happen at any time. And it doesn't always happen over 500 days. For me, it took six years. For Mother Teresa, a single minute.

Mother Teresa , one day - was walking past a beggar dying on a railroad platform. The story, as it is shared among her friends - is that he kind of did that thing like Agent Smith, in "The Matrix" ..could do... the body that was there in front of her said... I thirst.... A man, dying with everyone all around. Suddenly made her see there was nobody else there. Suddenly, he was someone else. And Mother Teresa was someone else. She helped him to die with honor. Then she went on to help hundreds of thousands more.

500 days of summer is about the day that you first saw him.. or her.. or the time you heard her voice over the phone. The day you noticed that the sun went down a different way. The day the light floated past you in stillness and sharp vivid relief. You remember it. It changed things for you.

And for Summer - it came in the form of a woman in the man. It could have easily been the man in the woman. She asked herself the simple, religious question. What Would Sid Vicious Do (WWSVD)?

The story seemingly revolves around him - but no more so than the story of Sid Vicious revolves around that of Nancy Spungen. We love to watch him, counting the days .. playing the little game of trying to guess what happens next....

But just like Sid and Nancy, his fate is to die. He will drop away from the life he's built for himself - he will be stabbed enough times to make it there to that place where Sid and Nancy meet in the sweet light of dawn. Spilling pain all over his new suit. Like coffee. The world turned upside down.

And in the end, the simple gestures of Summer - lead him on. Things that are practiced. Things that any woman could learn. She is measured by love. He, by ambition. If we're careful - we learn that Summer , was, of the story about a boy and a girl - the one who came out ahead. Not because she had a great big rock on her finger or a pretty new necklace to wear... those were feeble expressions of the director to attempt to illustrate the mark that Summer bore , of her relationship.

It is in her patience, waiting there on the bench - for her prey to arrive. And in her skill in dispatching him to his fate. She is, as perhaps all women of the 21st century. Proud. Bold. And Courageous. And he...?

He's unemployed. And his folks are overjoyed.


Anonymous said…
I think this is an interesting review of the film. You would watch it and think it was about him, but its not really - is it?

Its about her. He is her success story.

I like this review. good work!!
Thank you. I'm still basically not done with the film, but I was serious about the 500 days being something like six years for me.