Illustration by Adeline Pericart
Get a bottle of Blue Nun, splash yourself with them cheap Christmas smellies your Auntie got you for Christmas, slip on your Penny’s underwear and turn up the stereo with the sweet, sweet sound of Barry White. And hey, if you have a partner that’s an added bonus. Yes, it’s that time of year, when St. Valentine comes to town. So in his honour the film lovers here at Film Ireland present their favourite lurve-themed films.
We’ll be adding to the list in the run-up to the 14th – check it out here. As always, feel free to add your own favourites. If you’d like to include your own review, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Now let’s get it on…
500 Days Of Summer
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day to celebrate love, but anyone who is single (or worse yet, recently single) will tell you, no other day on the calendar can inspire more hate. By extension, rom-coms are also the victim to this love/hate relationship. But as rom-coms go, 500 Days Of Summer is different. For one, before the title of the movie, we’re greeted with this disclaimer:
‘AUTHOR’S NOTE: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Especially you Jenny Beckman.
500 Days Of Summer is the rom-com for those who hate rom-coms. It is a feel-good movie about not feeling all that great, actually. It is the most realistically portrayed relationship movie, yet it still contains a massive dance sequence and friendly animated birds.
From a plot standpoint, it’s standard issue; Boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets Girl (Zooey Deschanel), boy falls in love with girl, girl doesn’t believe in love, boy tries to change her mind, yada yada yada. To complete the rom-com set, Boy even has two best friends to whine to, a friendly boss, and a wiser-than-her-years younger sister (played by Chloe Moretz, before she got Kick-Ass famous). However, the way the story is told is unique for the genre, going back and forth in a semi-Memento fashion, giving us glimpses of happy and sad time that seem initially to be at random, but eventually make sense as a satisfying whole.
Being filled with both quotable one-liners (‘Lars is some guy she met at the gym with Brad Pitt’s face and Jesus’ abs.’), some hard-truths (‘I need to know that you’re not gonna wake up in the morning and feel differently.’ ‘And I can’t give you that. Nobody can.’), and some astounding moments (the split screen Expectations vs Reality scene is pretty much perfect); it’s hard to believe this was written by newcomers and directed by first-timer Mark Webb, who got the new Spider-Man gig off the back of this alone.
By showing the highs and lows of this relationship, the movie caters to pretty much every type of person watching it. The hopeless romantic, the desperately in love, the hard nosed cynic and, yes, the recently single are all represented at some point by someone. It’s not a movie about just this one relationship; it’s a movie about all relationships, and their effects on all of us. Love is great, and love hurts. And when that love is gone, we move on and hopefully find our next love.