Before seeing this, I had already pigeon-holed this as the typical rom-com concept that's been flogged to death of late. Salvation I thought, may come in it's indie-like feel having seen a trailer. After going to 'keep the peace' with my girlfriend, I've come away very pleasently surprised.
The basic plotline of 'boy meets girl' may start the film, but a short way into it's running time, it's apparent this is going somewhere different.
The film's structure is all over the place chronologically. It's timeline moves back and forth with fevered intensity, but works all the better for it(Helpfully, for those not paying attention, each of the 500 days in question is numbered onscreen).
Refreshingly, much of the standard material normally seen in this sort of fare is missing.
Both leads are hugely appealing and likable, displaying believable chemistry together when scenes call for it.
The director, and the two screenwriters are male, which I found lent the Joseph Gordon Levitt's Tom the more sympathetic edge. Zooey Deschanel's title character Summer however, comes across as a representation of every woman man has failed to truely understand. Anyone who is a fan of author Mike Gayle, will find similarities of his work here.
For a film such as it is, the overall tone is decidedly pro male and ever so slightly dark, but don't let that put you ladies off. There are some nice moments of light comedy, and the 'morning after' scene is superb. Another, demonstrating a key moment with both 'expectation' and 'reality' using a splitscreen is particularly poignant. And somewhere buried in the material, yes, there is ultimately romance as well.
The soundtrack is excellent and subtley used, making a marked change from the likes of One Republic being blasted out.
I saw this in a screen packed with about 80% women, most of which seemed to to leave smiling, having enjoyed it immensely. Despite my initial protestations, I'm not ashamed to say it had the same affect on me.