Make sure you watch both videos thoroughly before reading my commentary. Unless you know them, then feel free to look ahead :)
In my post today, I’d like to compare the treatment of the conventional love story in Dire Strait’s via the Killers’ “Romeo and Juliet” and the movie (500) Days of Summer. And then talk about (500) Days some more. I’ve been pretty obsessed with this song and movie at separate times, so I feel like anyone close to me who may be reading it is thinking “ughh, this again.” Haha, well. Thanks for sticking around.
Both the song and the movie are making commentary on a conventional love story but R&J’s perspective is more internal while (500) Days is clearly its own story. Personally, I like (500) Days better because of the feeling of self-sufficient resolution the protagonist finds at the end of the movie. In R&J, the protagonist is begging for Juliet to come back, blaming the demise of their relationship on external (maybe even divine?–but nevertheless out of human control) sources. While in (500) Days the failure of the relationship is also attributed to “life” being beyond their control, Tom (protagonist) takes his fate into his own hands when he realizes that it’s impossible for him to be with Summer. I really like this compared to the begging, pleading, helpless impression I get from the lyrics of R&J. Self efficacy, man.
The trailer for (500) Days clearly states that it is not a love story, but viewers can’t help going into it hoping that Tom will get Summer back in the end. He doesn’t. And I’ve heard people criticize this fact relentlessly and attack the quality of the movie just because it doesn’t have the ending they wanted, but that was clearly the point. In the movie, Tom, who works at a greeting card company, has this rant about how the greeting cards, movies, and music we make lead people to jump to using words for their feelings that they don’t really have, and it leads people to have expectations for others that are unrealistic. (500) Days is the writer’s own active rebellion against that trend, and while the movie has definitely taken the fall for being unconventional, I think that it is refreshingly realistic and hopeful.
I’ve said before and I’ll say again that my absolute favorite part of the movie is the last few seconds. Tom finally has his life together again, and he meets a girl named Autumn. He looks up at the camera, and then the (Summer) count of 500 resets to (1), and the summary picture takes on an orange glow, and it all begins again. If that isn’t hopeful then I don’t know what is.