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Why 500 Days of Summer is So Misunderstood

(500) Days of Summer is a different kind of romantic comedy, one that set out to subvert some of the genre’s most frequently used tropes. The 2009 film was meant to be critical of Tom’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) romantic attitudes toward Summer (Zooey Deschanel), one that found comedy and pathos in how all of his possessiveness and self-centered delusions would lead him inevitably to heartbreak. So why did so many come away from the movie feeling sorry for Tom, and seemingly agreeing with him that Summer had treated him unfairly? Here’s our Take on this common misinterpretation of 500 Days of Summer, and how it plays with tropes like the Nice Guy and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl to show us the problems with those archetypes—but also ends up undermining its own message.