“500 Days of Summer”- Lessons About Young Love


During the romantic montages of the movie, Tom is wearing a shirt that says “love will tear us apart,” which is kind of foreshadowing the end of their relationship.

Lancy Shi, Editor

When you think of a typical love story, what pops into your mind? I’m guessing it usually includes interactive conversations, cute montages, romantic tension, and a stupid misunderstanding to spice up the climax of the plot. All of these factors mix together to create the perfect rom com to laugh and relax to, but in many instances, real life romances aren’t quite like that. “500 Days of Summer” is one of those movies that really dig deep in what most people interpret as “true love”, and it also provides insight into this idea of “the one”. What I love most about this movie is how real and authentic it seems. It handles the theme of love better than most romances.

In the beginning of the movie, we are directly told by the narrator that this is not a love story. This movie focuses on our main character Tom, looking back at his relationship with Summer. Spoiler alert, he takes 500 days to get over her, which is where the movie got its name. In one of the first scenes, we are introduced to our two main love interests: Tom and Summer. Tom is a hopeless romantic who has always believed that he would meet “the one”. Summer, on the other hand, grew up with a distaste for the idea of love. She explained that she thought relationships were messy and that she would rather not get hurt. When Tom first met Summer at his job, he instantly fell for her charming looks and adorable personality. Then came the iconic elevator scene, where Summer notices that Tom is listening to The Smiths through his headphones, and she instantly sings along and compliments his music taste. When I first watched this part, I assumed this movie would just be another typical and fun romance movie, but then the movie took a turn.

Tom and Summer eventually start dating, even though in the beginning, Summer made it very clear to Tom that she had no intention of having any serious relationship. Tom chooses to brush over that detail and focus on the good parts of their relationship. He tells his sister that he thinks Summer is “the one”, to which she replied by reminding him that having similar interests with someone doesn’t make them your soulmate. And that moment right there basically sums up the message of the movie. Since we as the viewer follow Tom’s point of view, we only get to see him talk about how “perfect” his love is. The problem is, he spent so much time romanticizing the idea of Summer, that he forgets to actually love her. He thinks Summer is his soulmate simply because he is looking at her through rose colored glasses, and he automatically assumes they are going to stay together just because they have similar interests. On the first watch, many people don’t even realize how biased the point of view is because we never really get to hear Summer’s thoughts about the relationship.

Because of his high expectations for their relationship, the breakup hit Tom like a train. Summer had seemingly broken up with him for “no good reason”, and her decision made no logical sense in his point of view. He basically villainized Summer in his head because in his mind, she had ruined his only chance at love. The thing is, when Tom labels Summer as “the one”, he never thinks about it in her perspective. She might be the one for him, but is he the one for her? If she is the perfect girlfriend for him, is he the perfect boyfriend for her? A relationship includes two people , yet a lot of people never think about their relationship as a group project, but rather an individual project. You can’t improve your relationship by only thinking about how it affects you, and this type of selfish thinking is present in most teenage relationships. We tend to make the other person seem like the bad guy when the real villain of the story is the lack of communication and understanding.

“I think the movie is interesting because it deals with topics that aren’t usually covered in romance movies. Love isn’t that simple, especially when you are still discovering yourself.”

— Isabella Smith (12)

However, it is also important to acknowledge the fact that Summer was also immature, even though Tom is the one who is more at fault. If she wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, then she shouldn’t have jumped into one expecting for it to only remain casual. It wasn’t entirely Tom’s fault for falling for Summer when she clearly showed signs of loving him as well. At least in my interpretation, Summer was very much confused with her feelings, and that confusion made her realize that they weren’t good for each other. The mess of this relationship made both Tom and Summer realize that you can only find true love when you truly love and understand yourself. In the beginning of the movie, neither Tom nor Summer knew who they were or what their purpose was. They were both young, and they both had a lot of room to grow. Contrasting that to the end of the movie, Summer is married to a man she truly loves, and Tom meets Autumn- a true symbol of his maturity and how he was able to get over Summer. 

These lessons that “500 Days of Summer” have taught me will carry me throughout my development into young adulthood, and I hope that you can learn something as well. I’m sure many YLHS students can relate to Tom and Summer, which means they can definitely learn from them as well. When asked about her thoughts on the movie, Isabella Smith (12) mentioned, “I think the movie is interesting because it deals with topics that aren’t usually covered in romance movies. Love isn’t that simple, especially when you are still discovering yourself.”