Although it came out five years ago, (500) Days of Summer continues to be one of my all-time favorite movies. I have never been into big declarations of love after a 90-minute struggle to find happiness, and this “rom-com” totally broke the mold. For starters, the fun role reversal when it came to romantic neurosis—it was kind of nice to watch a guy make fatal faux pas on the relationship front rather than the girl. However, the main reason I love this film is because I admire the character of Summer, and not just because she’s played by the amazing Zooey Deschanel. Summer is a pretty incredible lady, and below are just a few reasons why.
1. She doesn’t have a romanticized view of love.
There is nothing I hate more than being 23 and being told I should have found the one by now. I love that the people around me are “on the right track”, but why does that mean I can’t like being on my own? One of the great things about being single is that you have tons of time to have fun with your friends and still have the all-too-necessary “me” time. Like Summer says, let’s leave the serious stuff for later.
2. She has great taste in music.
The Smiths are amazing and Ringo Starr is also my favorite Beatle. (Yes, I have received many roastings over this fact). Octopus’s Garden is the track I listen to when I have had a bad day, I am not ashamed!
3. She is honest.
When forcing all my friends to watch this movie, the inevitable venom comes out: they think Summer is a jerk. I, however, thought that she was honest from the start. From the beginning, she tells Tom she isn’t looking for anything serious and never deviates from that. She sets up boundaries which Tom doesn’t respect. When forced to put a label on it, she calls them friends, which is technically what they are (with benefits, of course). In past relationships, I have been forced into emotional dilemmas where I have let things progress faster than I was comfortable with. I once had a boyfriend stay with me for a few weeks while waiting for my housemates to move in, and he never left until we broke up two years later. It would be great to be as upfront as Summer is: it would save hurt feelings, and I’d be able to watch whatever I want on Netflix without interruption.
4. She’s not afraid of change.
The whole reason Summer meets Tom is because she moves from Michigan to LA to try something different. I think we all have this urge to just leave town and go to a new place with news faces and opportunities, and why don’t we? It becomes one of those hypothetical dreams that you talk about with your girlfriends over dinner, instead of something we actually try. Don’t get me wrong, she may not have achieved her life’s ambition during the movie, but you get the impression that if she wanted something, she would just go for it.
5. She doesn’t do awkward.
One of the worst things about a breakup is when you unexpectedly bump into them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t move in the same circles anymore, or even if you have different work schedules, it seems impossible to avoid an ex forever. Instead of the awkward silence where you both know you have made eye contact and pretend you haven’t, Summer just walks up to Tom and is quite happy to talk to him as normal. Some may argue that it was part of her leading him on, but I genuinely thought she was just being friendly and trying to move forward.
6. She gets the happy ending on her own terms.
Even though she spouts the whole “I woke up one day and I knew”, which is a scary prospect in itself, she still finds happiness. It’s nice to know that not all is lost to the cynical hearts out there.
So ultimately this anti-rom-com is one of the few movies where I identify with one of the main characters. She may not be innocent and pure like most heroines, but she’s real and reflects a modern day attitude on relationships. We don’t need to pine and wait around for the one. We should enjoy having a little world that is all our own, filled with our passions and dreams. And if we just so happen to meet our future spouse while reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, then that’s great, too.
Lisa-Marie is a self-proclaimed introvert hiding out in the UK. She loves writing, comics, and all things vintage. She is currently working on the Oxjam Music Festival and recording her ramblings in a personal blog.