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500 Days of Summer


The fate of the lukewarm

The protagonist is youngish. His handsome face betrays lack of character, so he could pass for a lover. He is never daring. The girl is similarly young. Men love youth, however, & girls’ parents don’t mind anymore. But girls imitate the look & sometimes the habits of women.

She is the manlier one. She struts. She compares herself to Sid Vicious (aptly named man) & him to Nancy, which he is. Consider her juvenile cruelty: careless of whom she humiliates, she only hurts those who love her, for no one else cares. She is quite innocent. When she abandons him, he might ask himself whether she is worth loving…

Love’s greatness is measured by the suffering it causes him. He is not suicidal. He loses this girl who ignores him; he is thereafter morose &, eventually, resigned; then he meets another girl. He is cute, but this life is not worth living; you should not wish it on your enemies. He could have been a poet, had he chased. He does not chase, thinking himself alike to her. He is an architect; he never builds anything; he is just good at looking at beauty. He is bad at being with beautiful women.

He rails against greeting cards: The feelings inscribed therein are artificial & therefore oppressive. Quite the existentialist attack on poetry. – He wants people to be authentic, to speak in their own names: why? He doesn’t say. He avoids discussing what they want. Greeting cards are the lowest form of poetry, but poetry nevertheless. His angry speech is an attack on poets because love is their invention. He thinks poets make mendacious promises. He is blind; his kid sister – too young for love’s confusions – sees immediately: the girl was bad news.

Unhappiness is the wages of injustice; injustice the wages of confusion; confusion the wages of self-pity. Self-pity is the kind of anger one feels when one feels one cannot get what one nevertheless believes one deserves. Only the kid sister is unsentimental & it is not clear what her future holds. Her elders are controlled by their passions & they are helpless to fight their slavery. It is not clear that they deserve their suffering. It is also not clear that they can avoid it.

Love seems a natural disaster: he has not escaped the poets’ teaching. Old age dulls sexual passions; also, depression. Young, hotblooded, he does not want to forget the girl, but to win her back. Well, she believes happiness in love requires no looking at the one she loves, but only being with him. She deceived him with her taste in music & painting: He deceived himself, thinking that pleasure will bring him happiness.

For fans of Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Zooey Deschanel.