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Often when I think about relationships, love, or on a more broad topic, life, I tend to refer to movies, books, television or even people who have obviously inspired and sparked the opinions that I’ve made regarding the tricky topics that I aforementioned. One movie that I continuously go back to is an all-time favorite of mine: (500) Days of Summer.
I won’t bore with a tedious synopsis of the movie, but I will say that a boy, Tom, falls head over heels at first glance for a whimsical, spontaneous, and quirky beauty, named Summer. Tom is cute and all but he’s definitely one of those guys who reads way to much into the whole “finding the one” cliché, and as mentioned in the movie “had a total misreading of the movie The Graduate and listened to too much sad British pop music (ex. The Smiths)”.
Summer on the other hand literally says the following in one of her first conversations with Tom:
1. That she doesn’t really believe in finding “the one”.
2. That she enjoys being on her own and wants to save the serious stuff for later
3. That she doesn’t want a boyfriend but wouldn’t mind being “friends” with Tom because she likes him.
To me, that doesn’t sound like too much to ask. Now I know that Tom and Summer go on to sleep together, have what some might call a romance, and not really ever put a label (ugh) on their friendship (she lets him know full well that she’s not looking for anything serious). Tom starts to question what is to become of them because he thinks he’s in love with her (again she said she didn’t want anything serious). Even though she tried to tell him she was happy with their spontaneous love/friendship, he gets way over dramatic and that pushes her away.
Months after their whatever-you-wanna-call-it crumbles, he meets up with her again at a mutual friend’s wedding. They talk, they laugh, they dance and they don’t kiss or do anything that should have led a mature adult to believe that they would get back together. Then a week later she turns up engaged to another man. TWIST!
Well most people would consider what Summer did a “bitch move”. Others literally hated the movie after that bombshell and couldn’t fathom what would bring a person to do that. Here is why I am on Summer’s side:
1. Summer made it pretty obvious she was a wild card in the beginning and she even said that she wanted to keep things between her and Tom light and casual. Fair enough.
2. One of the very last scenes of the movie is extremely important. One of the reasons I love it so much is because its done very much in the style of an old Hollywood story about love where the past lovers accidentally see each other in a spot that they used to go to (with no one else around), which is in this case, is a park overlooking L.A. They’re both dressed in 60’s esque casual clothes which is equivalent to modern-day fancy, and she approaches him by saying “I thought I might see you here”. Classic. See where I’m going with this? Anyway, so at this point, Summer is married and Tom has quit his job to pursue a career in architecture (something Summer always pushed him to do). Both have obviously had positive changes in their life. While catching up, Tom says that he doesn’t think he’ll ever understand why Summer was able to call what they had a friendship but then get married months later to a different guy. What Summer says in this scene was so groundbreaking for me that I probably use it way to much in examples about how I want to live my life, but here it goes anyway:
Summer: Well, you know, I guess it's 'cause I was sitting in a deli and reading Dorian Gray and a guy comes up to me and asks me about it and... Now he's my husband.
Tom: Yeah. And... so?
Summer: So, what if I'd gone to the movies? What if I had gone somewhere else for lunch? What if I'd gotten there 10 minutes later? It was - it was meant to be. And... I just kept thinking... Tom was right.
Summer: Yeah, I did. I did. It just wasn't me that you were right about.
BAM! That’s it. What is, you may ask? The fact that Summer, while she maybe might have been the perfect girl for Tom (is his eyes) wasn’t meant for Tom. She was so wishy-washy about Tom because she wasn’t sure of what she wanted at that point. It literally took that moment of falling for a guy and knowing ,without anything telling her differently, that he was the one that she was made for and vise-versa. If she never felt that with Tom, then it wasn’t her job to stay with him.
3. In conclusion, it was her own damn life and her own damn feelings and she had every right to let herself find who was really perfect for her.
So yes, maybe it was sad for Tom. Tom ,though, was slightly misguided and so much in this fairytale land of finding his own happiness that he didn’t even think to realize the kind of person Summer really was, even though he said he loved her so much. People make these kinds of decisions and sometimes have to be impulsive and get heartbroken. It’s a good thing to consider the feelings of others, but finding your own happiness has to be done in your own way. Tom needed that heartbreak to learn something about himself and to push himself. Some may say that Summer dragged him across the ground then left him in the dirt. I say that she simply was as much a part of Tom’s life as he was of hers and they both were meant to help each other in that time.
“What always happens? Life!” -Summer
Sources: (500) Days of Summer. By Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Dir. Marc Webb, Steven J. Wolfe, and Scott G. Hyman. Prod. Mason Novick, Jessica Tuchinsky, and Marc Waters. Perf. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2009. DVD.