Friday, February 26, 2010

500 days of like, love and heartache.

"Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love. Girl doesn't."
"This is not a love story. This is a story about love."

Boy that falls in love: Tom Hasen
Girl that doesn't: Summer Finn

Written in narrative form, Tom Hansen reminisces back onto the 500 day relationship he had with Summer Finn- the story is told in a non-chronological order - as we typically remember fragmented memories of the past in random flashbacks.

Tom Hasen is your typical average romantic joe from New Jersey. Summer Finn on the other hand is your cynical girl next door from Michigan. At the greeting card company where they work in LA, Tom meets Summer and falls in love with her. Summer on the other hand is someone that does not believe in relationships or boyfriends. Inevitably, the stars align and they become more that just friends. Summer still insists that she does not believe in Love. After 290 days, Tom and Summer break up after they watch a film, which Tom thinks shows true love. Summer quits her job at the greeting card company and falls into a deep depression as he wallows in self-pity insisting that summer was the 'one' for him. Eventually, after living off alcohol and junk-food, Tom quits his job. After a number of random encounters post-break-up, Tom and Summer finally meet again to talk on day 488 at their favorite spot in the city. Despite not understanding her completely, he finally reaches a point of acceptance and moves on with his life. 12 days later, he meets another girl, named Autumn.

In this coming-of-age story, we see Tom and Summer's relationship progression through the days, weeks and months. We see him being drawn to her in their first encounter in the lift as they find common ground with the same taste in music - an attitudinal similarity between the two in preferences. Despite Summer's cynicism towards love and relationships, destiny brings them together as their proximity from each other at work provided more opportunity for interaction. They enter a stage of self-disclosure and find out more about each other. Conflict arises as their different views on love put a strain on things. They break up and Tom goes into denial and depression.

Some people say it takes 'half the time you were with someone, to get over someone' - not. The act of 'getting over' is one of those things that is easier said than done. When someone is heartbroken, it consumes that person and debilitates them mentally, physically and emotionally. They become paralyzed and as described - broken. The path to acceptance for some, is a social process in which they seek advice and consolation within their social network. For others it is an internal process of 'Grave-dressing' as they try to figure out 'what went wrong' to find closure.

When tragedy strikes when you least expect it to, it is human nature to cling onto whatever you can salvage. This makes it very hard for someone to 'move-on' in their lives without reason. Time frames vary to the degree of the relationship and the ability of the person to rationalize and be objective. Tom, eventually finds closure and happiness again within himself. This opens him up again to the other possibilities of connecting and loving someone else, other than Summer.


  1. I have not watched this movie but i am curious as to why would Summer was not able to love someone new? why would heartbreak be so difficult to overcome? Although I think its BS to say to someone "I understand how you feel" because no 2 situations are always the same. But breaking up with someone is not an end but its life teaching us about us ie who we are so that we will be able to find the right person who can be our partner. Also to carry on with an incorrect person is more disastrous than breaking up which pain is temporal. Do we really want to spend time with partners whom we spend most of time and effort quarreling? I think not.

  2. Summer did not believe in love because according to her 'life happens' and everything that has a beginning, also has an end eventually. She was abit of a cynic and i guess was afraid to fully commit in fear of getting hurt.

    Heartbreak is difficult to overcome because an attachment is established between two people in a relationship. This bond which is broken, takes time to heal. True its not the end of the world. But telling yourself that 'he/she wasnt the right person' doesn't really help. Its a process in which people rationalize what went wrong and why things turned out the way they did. They eventually reach the point where they find closure.

  3. Do you believe in destiny like there is someone destined for you? Or do you subscribe to the view that there is no such thing as "the one" instead our love affairs are who we choose to love and have connection with?

    I personally think there is no right way to have a relationship and its true that every beginning will have an end. I have been in relationships that i knew from the start that it wouldn't work out but still went for it because i wanted to experience the feeling of love and being in-love with that someone. Even though it didn't work out in the end but i never regretted it. I live life only once so I don't want to leave it with regret > that is my view of things. :)

  4. Both. Life is a balance of freewill and destiny. they both play a part in the whole scheme of things. I don't subscribe to just one view but i see both sides and believe that they work hand in hand with each other. You can only control so much after all.

  5. In this show, if Tom carried on his relationship with Summer do you think he can make her fall in love with him? Tom made a very common mistake where guys think that the girl they love is the one for them. How do girls know that they have found the one for them?

  6. Some belong destiny plays a part in bringing people together. However, I belliever there are other more scientific reasons sucj as the ones you mentioned - Similarit and proximity which bring more opportunity for interaction. Self disclosure also shows mutual trust and understand. I am glad that tom is able to survive and mature through duck's stages and finally open himself up to new opportunities

  7. Hey stranger - i think it is presumptuous to say that many guys make a common mistake thinking that the girl they love is the one for them. As it would be for me to speak for all girls. We all just know somehow. For some it may come easy, for others it may just pass them by without them knowing.

    Twokents - haha. i'm glad you're happy for Tom. He's a good guy. I won't even go into the whole destiny versus freewill discussion. Lets not. ;-)

  8. Hey DS, well.. i'm actually a guy and i've made tat mistake all the time. And to answer the question of who i am? well, i am a psychology student in a local uni, not someone you know.

    By the way, i wanted to say that the use of the Time Line Therapy would be the solution to get over any emotional trauma or depression. Have you heard about it? do you get the feeling when stuff that happened years ago felt only like yesterday? thats because of our perception of time is distorted and so whenever we think about an upsetting incident we are always reliving that period in time, unable to let go.

    TLP is a simple technique used to realign our perception of time and past events. It could be used to eliminate any negative emotions and limiting beliefs that was caused by our past. It is easy to use and you do not need a therpist to do it. The results are amazing n instantenous.

  9. There's really something called Time Line Therapy (TLP)? Wow. I thought it was just a phenomenon that the gravity of things naturally lessens overtime as it degenerates from your system.

    I have no doubt that TLP shows amazing results. The cliche 'time heals all' stands true. However, it is also a reality that sometimes people never recover from heartbreak and end up spiraling down a dark hole for a very very long time. Sadly, sometimes sacrificing their lives to end it all.

  10. "Never" is not the word but whether "I want to" is. Some of my own Links that i have collected to explain Time Line therapy(TLT). (More detailed read)

  11. Thanks for those links!

    It is true that we all have the will to overcome anything. But depending on the degree - people vary in emotional strength to handle such situations. It could be attributed to their attitudes, beliefs, support they get from family and friends. There are some very lonely people out there and the mind can play tricks on you when you're alone.

  12. Love comes to those who don't wait. Love is a thing of surprise and enchantment. It does not necessary consider proximity or similarity - it just happens. It is, like everything else in this world, a result of probability and chance. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.

  13. But all good things come to those who wait? I agree with what you said though. Love is almost always a sweet surprise.

  14. The best things in life ARE free and unexpected. By having expectations, people end up having disappointments. But if you never expect, you will never be disappointed and always be pleasantly surprised by things that come your way.

  15. Haha. DS, I can see that you obviously did not go through the links abt what TLT is. Its got nothing to do with willpower. To be honest if I had to rely on willpower to overcome my depression, I wouldn't be talking to you now. I have helped myself and friends who couldn't be in a relationship again or low self-esteem with this technique. Its about changing your perception of how you view your memory and experiences. All the person needs to do is just do it, nothing else.

    Hope you take some time and have a look what this is and give some comments or may be write and article about it. Humour me somewhat. :-)