Growing up watching SRK starer Bollywood romantic movies, we sure have great expectations from our love life. Like one day, we’ll be meeting ‘the one’ who would extinguish the darkness and solitariness within our souls and elucidate our existence with the light of their love and solace. Inspired by those movies and romantic novels where the love interest of the protagonist inevitably falls for the lead character. Perhaps many even went on to the extent of seeking ‘the one’ only to get disappointed and heart-broken.
Have you known someone like that? Or perhaps you are that girl/guy?
In romance, we believe what we want to believe. But that’s not the case, is it?
That’s the reason 500 Days of Summer is so appealing!
It is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.
The boy, Tom Hansen who grew up believing that he’d never truly been happy until the day he met “the one.” This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total misreading of the movie ‘The Graduate.’ The girl, Summer Finn who did not share this belief. Height, average. Weight, average. Shoe size, slightly above average. For all intents and purposes, Summer Finn was just another girl. Except she wasn’t. Since the disintegration of her parent’s marriage, she’d only loved two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing.
Tom believes in love, or at least in the greeting card version of love. Of course, that makes sense as Tom is a greeting card writer who spends his days writing sound byte sentimentality to put words to those things many of us can’t communicate. He wants to be an architect but has seemingly blocked himself into this safe and relatively drama-free professional existence.
Summer Finn is his boss’s new assistant. Summer, on the other hand, is either the walking wounded or simply mortally jaded in all matters of the heart. Tom is in love with Summer from the moment he sees her. His thoughts on love may not run as deeply as, say, those of the Romantic poets. He writes greeting cards, and you suspect he may believe his cards.
She meets Tom. She likes his looks and makes her move one day over the Xerox machine. She appreciates Tom but, she states very upfront, she will not become his girlfriend or, for that matter, any other label that we like to use to define our relationships.
But of course, this is a romantic comedy, so we know that Tom and Summer will be attracted to one another, will resist that attraction, will finally give in to that attraction. The two eventually ended up having a sensual relationship.
For Tom, the world is in love. Everyone reacts to him with big smiles and high-fives. Every morning, a marching band joins in a celebratory dance number straight out of a Bollywood movie that continues until he hits the elevator at work.
“I love how she makes me feel, like anything’s possible, or like life is worth it.”
But for Summer, the thing with Tom was just a casual hook-up and that was it. Sure, she liked Tom but it was all in the shadow of a close friend and never a lover.
“I like being on my own. Relationships are messy and people’s feelings get hurt. Who needs it? We’re young. Might as well have fun while we can and save the serious stuff for later.” Time and again, she tried to make it clear to Tom but he was living in his own world of fantasy. A world where Summer was his Sun and everything revolved around her.
“I love her smile. I love her hair. I love her knees. I love how she licks her lips before she talks. I love her heart-shaped birthmark on her neck. I love it when she sleeps.”
As one could predict, Tom decided to confess his feelings for Summer. Tom walked to her apartment, intoxicated by the promise of the evening. He believed that his expectations would align with reality. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
Summer: We’re just fr…
Tom: [Interrupting] No! Don’t pull that with me! This is not how you treat your friend! Kissing in the copy room? Holding hands in IKEA? Come on!
Can he accept that she simply likes him for now, not for forever? The movie, which is a delightful comedy, alive with invention, is about Tom wrestling with that reality.
“Either she’s an evil, emotionless, miserable human being, or… she’s a robot.”
Needless to say, everything fell apart for Tom be it his twisted world of reality or his professional career as a greeting card maker. He couldn’t put his mind into doing anything. All he ever managed to do was lay on the bed, cry, drink, and cry again. He messed up big time. On one hand, he wanted to forget her. On the other, he knew that she’s the only person in the entire universe that will make him happy.
“It’s these cards and the movies and the pop songs, they’re to blame for all lies and the heartache, everything.”
Months later, Tom attended one of his co-worker’s wedding and tried to avoid Summer, but she spotted him and invited him for coffee. They have a good time at the wedding, they even danced together. She then invited Tom to a party at her apartment and fell asleep on Tom’s shoulder on the train ride back. He attended the party hoping to rekindle their relationship but barely gets to talk to Summer and spends most of the night drinking alone until he spots her engagement ring.
“I hate her crooked teeth. I hate her 1960s haircut. I hate her knobby knees. I hate her cockroach-shaped splotch on her neck. I hate the way she smacks her lips before she talks. I hate the way she sounds when she laughs.”
Tom leaves, close to tears. He enters a deep depression, only leaving his apartment for alcohol and junk food. After a few days, he returns to work with a hangover, and, after an emotional outburst, he quit his job.
One day he suddenly finds the energy to get out of bed and rededicates himself to architecture, something Summer had pressured him to do. He makes a list of firms he wants to work for, assembles a portfolio, and goes to job interviews.
“People don’t realize this, but loneliness is underrated.”
One fine day, he decided to go to his favorite spot in the city and was surprised to see Summer there. As if she was waiting there for him to come.
Summer- Are you Ok?
Tom- I will be eventually…
He informs her that he left the office, and notes that she got married, which he admits he doesn’t understand since she never even wanted to be someone’s girlfriend. Summer says she got married because she felt sure about her husband, something she wasn’t with Tom.
Tom: You know what sucks? Realizing that everything you believe in is complete and utter bullshit. It sucks.
Summer: What do you mean?
Tom: Uh, you know. Destiny, and soul mates, and true love. And all that childhood fairytale nonsense. You were right. I should have listened to you.
She countered that he was actually right about it, he was just wrong about it being with her. Summer put her hand on Tom’s and said she is glad to see he is doing well. Just as Summer was about to leave his sight, Tom told her he really hopes she is happy.
“People change. Feelings change. It doesn’t mean that the love once shared wasn’t true and real. It simply just means that sometimes when people grow, they grow apart.”
Twelve days later, Tom went to attend a job interview where he met a girl who was also applying for the same job. He found that she shared his favorite spot and dislike for the parking lots. As he was about to enter for the interview, he asked her out for a cup of coffee afterward. To which she politely declined, then after giving it some thought changed her mind. He then asked what was her name.
She replied “I’m AUTUMN.“
If Tom had learned anything… it was that you can’t ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence, that’s all anything ever is, nothing more than coincidence… Tom had finally learned, there are no miracles. There’s no such thing as fate, nothing is meant to be. He knew, he was sure of it now.
Not every guy gets an autumn in their lives…drop that thought