I never understood why many film critics were raving about the movie, 500 Days of Summer. I knew beforehand that the movie involves heartbreak so I was a little hestitant to watch a depressing movie. I was finally convinced by a friend to watch the movie. After I watched the movie, I got a lot of things from it.
The movie is about a boy named Tom Hansen (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who falls haplessly and hopelessly in love with a girl named Summer (Zooey Deschanel), thus the title, “500 Days of Summer”. The movie doesn’t go about things chronologically so there is some time skipping and time rewinding involved. I don’t know if it helps with the flow of story or if it just one of the director’s gimmick. The way the scenes were played out however, kept me glued to the screen. I wanted to know what happened next.
I’ve seen the trailer of the movie. So I guess I won’t be spoiling it for those who haven’t seen the movie yet. Yes, the movie ends badly. It’s about how Tom falls in love with the wrong girl but thinks he is in love with the ONE. Haven’t we all made the same mistake, thinking someone was the ONE only to find out that they’re not.
Here are 5 Love lessons that can be gleaned from the movie:
Lesson 1: Define the Relationship
Probably one of the most important things one must remember before entering a new relationship is to first define the relationship. It’s so easy to make this mistake. When you are attracted to someone, sometimes, you can’t help but to disregard common sense. However, not defining the relationship ultimately leads to a heartbreak. Tom made a major faux pas when he didn’t define his relationship with Summer from the very moment it started. He just kept on going out with her and even sleeping with her without even establishing if they were going to be in a serious or open relationship. Apparently, Summer wanted to be in an open relationship and Tom, wanted a serious relationship. The problem arose when Tom became too attached to Summer. The girl apparently just wanted to have some fun. Tom wanted more. Tom would have avoided a major heartbreak if he only defined the relationship from the very beginning.
Lesson 2: Make Sure You Are On The Same Page
This is related to the first lesson. But it involves much more than the relationship. It involves the people who are in the relationship. Many people make the mistake of falling in love with a person they think is the ONE, only to find out that they share nothing in common save their physical attraction for each other. Physical attraction may be one of the reasons for people to get together, but it shouldn’t be the only basis for being in a relationship or staying in a relationship. That’s why there’s a courtship period. You’re supposed to get to know each other and move past the ‘attraction phase’ and to that phase called ‘long-term relationship phase.’ Tom and Summer didn’t share anything in common save for their attraction to each other. It’s nice to have physical intimacy with someone you’re attracted to, but it all becomes meaningless sex if you don’t even share common values and common goals. In order for a relationship to thrive, one must assess if his/her partner is on the same page with them. It’s never too early to discuss your expectations, the things that you value like religion, having kids, etc. So many couples are in a relationship for the wrong reasons. It’s best to end a relationship right away if you don’t see where it is headed. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. This is the common reason why relationships and marriages fail in the long run. You can avoid an unhappy relationship by just heeding this love lesson.
Lesson 3: Know Reality from Fantasy
Sometimes when we are in a relationship, we project our own expectations onto the other person. We fail to see the person for who or what they truly are. During an interview, Joseph Gordon-Levitt had this to say about the character he played: “He [Tom] develops a mildly delusional obsession over a girl onto whom he projects all these fantasies.”*
That is why when you start seeing someone, you must always have the right mindset. When you are dating, you are trying to assess if that person fits your idea of the ONE and not make them fit your idea of the ONE. Therefore, you must enter the relationship with the right attitude. The relationship may or may not work but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to find the right person for you. Please remember that there is a right person for you, should you continue on looking. You can’t make the wrong person the right one by projecting all of your fantasies onto that person. Enter a relationship with your two eyes open not closed. Look for yellow or red flags. Try to determine the other person’s authenticity. It’s nice to be romantic and all but not the point of disregarding common sense. Try to see the relationship and the person for what it truly is. Remove your rose-colored glasses.
Lesson 4: Love Yourself First
The reason why Tom attracted Summer in the first place is because he didn’t love himself. If he valued himself, he would never have entered into a relationship with Summer, knowing beforehand that Summer was only looking for a fling. If you know your self-worth and your value, you only attract healthy relationships.
In the movie, Tom’s heartbreak became an impetus for him to go after his dreams. But he could have avoided heartbreak in the first place if he valued himself.
And in any relationship, the person with the stronger personality and will power, will always try to dominate over the person with a low self-esteem. This is what Summer did to Tom. She was very non-committal and poor Tom took the bait because he didn’t think he deserved better. He was used and discarded. The sad thing is that he allowed himself to be used.
Tom became depressed after Summer left him because he thought that he needed someone else to make him happy. That is one of the many pitfalls of a relationship. People always believe that happiness is outside of themselves. That’s why when someone leaves them, they believe they can no longer be happy. Tom could have avoided his major depressive episode, if he only realized that he should have loved himself first.
Lesson 5: Know What You Want
We must have a clear idea of what we want in a relationship. We must have a list of traits that we are looking for in a person. We must not waver in our idea of the ONE person that is good for us, otherwise, we end up with relationships that are bad for us and far from what we truly want. Tom had an idea of the ONE, but I’m sure he didn’t define it enough otherwise, he wouldn’t have fallen for Summer. I’m sure he wanted to be in a serious relationship but that is not what he got. The reason is because he compromised his ideals. Never compromise. Always know what you want. And the same thing goes not just in relationships but in life as well.
*Direct Quote Source:
- 5 Love Lessons from 500 Days Of Summer (serialchanter.wordpress.com)
- 3 Life-Lessons from ‘(500) Days of Summer’ (urbantimes.co)
- The Terrifying Meaning behind Zooey Deschanel’s Eyes (comm2302metafiction.wordpress.com)
- Great Scene: “(500) Days of Summer” (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- Get the Look: Zooey Deschanel’s Makeup From 500 Days of Summer (bellasugar.com)
- 10 Reasons Why We Love Joseph Gordon-Levitt (pinkandblack-magazine.com)
- The 10 Best Fictional Boyfriends (thoughtcatalog.com)
- Levitt-ating to new heights (todayonline.com)
- 500Days of Summer/和莎莫的500天 (ciciyoung.wordpress.com)
- Summer (rainismusic.wordpress.com)