Thursday, April 7, 2011

(500) Days of Frustration

This was originally written for the ASMSU Exponent.

It is said art is a reflection of society, whether the art supports or condemns it. Because of this, there are lessons to be learned from books, music, television and movies. While it may seem strange to plug a 2-year-old movie, the 2009 film “(500) Days of Summer” is just such a film. And please be forewarned, there are spoilers ahead.

For the unfamiliar, “(500) Days of Summer” is a deconstruction of modern romantic comedies and ‘happily ever after’ endings, showing a 20-something man’s desperate attempts to recall what went wrong in a failed relationship with a woman he was certain was “the one.” At first, he thinks only of good memories but soon begins to see the flaws in both the relationship and his ex-girlfriend.

In fact, the movie thoroughly deconstructs the notion of “the one.” The opening narration informs the audience it is a story of boy meets girl, but not a love story. Protagonist Tom, thanks to an overly romanticized perception of love, is convinced Summer is “the one” because of serendipity. His world is shattered when she breaks up with him, believing his one chance at happiness is gone forever.

Yet the movie contends there is hope. Tom may lose who he thought was the love of his life, but losing her puts him on the (rough) path to realizing his warped views. Eventually he finds purpose in revisiting his long-shelved dream of being an architect, instead of finding his soulmate.

This movie brings to light a bitter truth about relationships: Many men and women our age lose themselves to relationships. They become oblivious to clear red flags and wonder what went wrong when things end. It’s too easy to tie self-worth to a significant other in a desperate search for “the one.”

There is nothing wrong with dedication to a significant other, but when one’s own sense of self-worth is wholly dependant on the other person, it’s a problem waiting to happen. We must remember to have our own lives too; otherwise, what’s the point of being an individual?

As for whether or not “the one” exists, that is for you to decide. The movie leaves this question open, as should you. There may be someone out there who is perfect for you in every way, but you shouldn’t wait around for the stars to align. Live your life and take advantage of opportunities around you. Don’t miss out because of a hellbent soulmate hunt.

This is a movie every person in the college age group should watch. It has valuable lessons in love that many people can benefit from. It’s not uncommon for someone to walk away from this movie after seeing it for the first time feeling humbled after seeing their own in the character's actions. Experience this movie, and take its moral to heart.

If you still need a reason to watch this movie, have I mentioned it stars Zooey Deschanel?

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