Sunday, August 8, 2010

Writing in Motion: 500 Days of Summer

Hey everyone!

Terence here from Much Ado About Nothing, to deliver your weekly dose of Writing in Motion! I've been having kind of a rough week so I decided to turn to something that always makes me happy, 500 Days of Summer! I love this movie and I heart the two leads (Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel) more than words can express.

How could you not heart these two?

This movie is great for reasons other than the actors. It's a romantic comedy weaved into a coming of age tale told in a non-linear fashion, meaning that it jumps between the 500 days. So one scene you may be on day 12 and leap to day 233 and come right back to day 36. It's a fantastic way to show a relationship which isn't always perfect (cause really, which ones are?).

There is one particular scene that will turn this movie into a new generation classic. Here is how it was originally written in the script:

Tom and Summer are in a LARGE CIRCLE OF PEOPLE at a party. TIME CUTS reveal that Summer is talking with, laughing with, drinking with, and possibly flirting with many of them. Tom notices, smiles, pretends it doesn’t mean anything, but he’s clearly jealous, not in a sexual way but of the attention they’re getting from her. It’s been a while. He misses that attention.

Now what the filmmakers chose to do was film this in split screen showing us Tom (JGL)'s expecations vs the reality. As you can see in the video below, the translation from the screenplay is amazing. The use of split screen to show what he is actually feeling versus what he wants to feel is a bold choice from the filmmakers and paid off.

'500 Days of Summer' Expectations vs. Reality @ Yahoo! Video

If you haven't seen this film, please do so IMMEDIATELY! It's so good and a great way to see that you don't have to go from beginning to end to tell a story.

Bonus Clip: This hilarious parody of Sid and Nancy with JGL playing Nancy and ZD playing Sid.
Cinemash: Sid and Nancy


  1. I love love love 500 Days of Summer! This is by far my favorite scene in this movie.

    Its funny because I was talking to someone this past week about using split screen. They said the technique is cliche. I think that if done correctly, it can juxtapose 2 scenes very well.

    Also these sundance pics kill me lol. Thanks Terence!

  2. I didn't care to see this movie when I first heard of it, but after Leland co-signed on it and with JGL's star rising I think I have to take a peek.

  3. I just saw 500 days of Summer recently and it was eye opening and a great story. The way that the director used the timeline showing the days, but not necessarily in chronological order was very instrumental to telling a great story.