The cold winter season is here and this often means that it’s also the season for relationships! (Well according to the 2012 data, we’re assuming the percentages have risen.) But instead of running back to your ex (don’t even thinking about sending that text) or jumping into any wagon out of loneliness, how about getting some tips from one of my all time favourite movies?
Words: Yeganeh Ameri, Subeditor: Lauren Burgess
I know, the last thing you want when you’ve got no one to hug or when your partner leaves you, is to watch two couples getting it on in a movie that you thought would help you get through the break-up and the lonely days. Yes, there are plenty movies made for break-ups such as The Break-Up (duh) however, none of them seem to quite top 2009 film 500 Days of Summer. Watching this also means instead that of photoshopping objects in pictures to replace your ex, you will hopefully delete them all and save yourself a lot of precious time.
This isn’t based on the fact that it received an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (which is pretty high since Rotten Tomatoes usually seems to hate everything) or the fact that the lead role is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (such a babe).
This is purely based on the fact that it portrays the reality of a relationship really well. The plot goes as follows, Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works in a greetings card company (surely this is a dying business?) where he meets Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel). He’s pretty much obsessed with her from the first time he sees her and she makes it clear to him that she doesn’t want a relationship yet he convinces himself he’s in one. The movie keeps flipping from the past to present until Summer and Tom have their first argument. Technically, after this comes the ‘break-up’ when Summer leaves but they weren’t really in a relationship to begin with? The scenes portray them to be in one but when Summer made it clear that she simply didn’t want anything serious, surely that means it doesn’t count?
Nevertheless, our protagonist is chucked into depression and misery. Usually in other romance films, the plot would have a happier ending where the couple overcome their problems and get together in the end. However, they don’t and that is exactly why you need to look to this movie as inspiration.
In an interview with Playboy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt points out that his character “develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies. He thinks she’ll give his life meaning because he doesn’t care about much else going on in his life.” This is exactly what happens when you’re in that ‘honeymoon phase’ and think that your partner is the best thing that’s ever happened in your life. But this isn’t healthy. When you see Tom go through the ‘getting over her’ stage, you realize how pathetic it is for you to cry endlessly and lose sleep because you don’t have a ‘bae’.
What you need to gain from this movie is that the message is fairly understated compared to the other cinematic aspects such as the acting, the cinematography, the script etc. The movie leaves you feeling inspired and motivated. Usually films are a form of escape for us and allow us to put ourselves into different roles and situations. However, this film draws you back into reality. You go through a realistically boring relationship, you experience the pain that comes with the sudden break up and you are pushed into bettering yourself by getting over it all. In many ways this can also be seen as a form of escape for those who are in denial and after watching 500 Days of Summer, they are zapped back into harsh reality.
Other movies focus on the importance of the significant other who has left whereas Tom teaches us that we are the most valuable person in our own life. We learn that you should mourn after a break up but not to let it take over your life. We should begin to value ourselves and channel our pain into motivation to get by.
This film takes us through every step until Tom is finally living his life again whilst we are left with an uplifting sense of relief and satisfaction. Tom isn’t the only character who teaches us a lesson. Although the majority of the audience may dislike Summer for leaving Tom without a proper explanation, her character reminds us that we should walk away from things that we no longer enjoy. There’s no need for you to put up with the same problems or to message your ex who’s in your past for a reason. Instead, look hopeful for the rest of the winter days wrapped up in warm blankets, sipping on a cup of hot chocolate and appreciating the silence of the single life.