Any film with The Smiths in its soundtrack has to be good, it’s a metaphysical law. When I saw the trailer for (500) Days Of Summer and learnt that the main characters meet when listening to There Is A Light That Never Goes Out – one of my favourite Smiths songs – I knew this was a movie for me.
Starring Zooey Deschanel, who happens to be my favourite actress, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the kid from Third Rock From The Sun, remember him?) the film opens with Regina Spektor’s charming piano refrain Us from her album Soviet Kitsch. I don’t have long to wait until The Smiths come into play. I spy a poster in the background very early on and throughout the film we are treated to both There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want. The soundtrack recording also includes a cover of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by She & Him, the musical project of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.
Throughout the film, familiar music is never at bay. Melbourne band The Temper trap’s Sweet Disposition, from their debut album, guides the audience through a poignant moment. In one scene the characters are listening to Italian-born-French-bred, model-turned-singer Carla Bruni – yes, French President Sarkozy’s wife. Her rendition of Quelqu’un M’a Dit has accompanied me through many hours of French homework over the years.
Sure, (500) Days Of Summer has a great, eclectic soundtrack – also including The Black Lips, Feist, The Doves, Simon & Garfunkel and Wolfmother – but it was also a super film. Probably best described as a romantic comedy, boys shouldn’t be afraid. It is funny, I promise. Plus, the usual gender stereo types of non-committal male and over-clingy female have been turned upside down. When Tom Hanson meets and falls instantly in love with Summer Finn, his boss’s new assistant, he believes she is ‘the one’. Alas, Summer doesn’t believe in love. What ensues is 500 days of Tom’s emotional ups and downs as the undefinable status of their relationship tortures him. Does he get the girl? I’m not going to tell.