Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the Smiths and 500 Days of Summer

I hate romantic comedy films.

But don’t get me wrong. I am a very romantic person. I see the most romantic and idealistic values in supporting Arsenal, enjoying music, creating art and just living in this society in general. One of my favourite painters is J M W Turner. I just hate cheesy obvious love sickening romantic comedy movies.

So, despite how much I loved previous films Joseph Gordon Levitt had played in, I refused to watch 500 Days of Summer for a long time. But after hearing about all the interesting musical references in the film, I just had to watch it eventually.


The story of boy meets girl was clearly not a typical rom-com one, but wasn’t something too impressive for me. But the soundtrack and the musical references were indeed interesting.

The base of the relationship between the two main characters, Tom and Summer comes down to their shared love for the Smiths.

1. The Smiths

There is a Light that Never Goes Out

Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want This Time

(To listen to She and Him, Zooey Deschanel’s terrible cover of this song, visit this link.)

As a big music lover, love that stems from a shared love for music is something that I cherish so much and what my personal relationships have been like. Most couples have their own “special song,” but to have their own “special band” or even type of music is something even more special. So I so can understand Tom’s instant love for Summer as soon as he realises that they bond through the Smiths.

But at the same time, that turned Summer into Tom’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a term first used by a film critic Nathan Rabin to describe a perfect, shallow female character who only exists to makes a male character’s dream come true. Tom creates this image of this perfect indie girl who loves the Smiths, and is meant to be with him and will make his life perfect, not considering Summer’s own thoughts about love and relationships. The consequence is a brutal heartbreak. (Even though Summer was not in anyway brutal about it.)

An interesting thing is that this shared love for the Smiths is becoming a cliche for a indie story of a love between an indie boy and and an indie girl managing their lives through the distasteful ‘mainstream society.’ The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an example.

The Smiths are the KINGS of indie, and I love them, so it isn’t something that’s not understandable. But again, when something becomes a cliche, it loses it value. Why not show a beautiful shared love for the Strokes? The Libertines? Blur? Joy Division? The Clash? One Direction? I think it’s time.

But 500 Days of Summer is full of other great music too.

2. Belle and Sebastian – The boy with the Arab Strap

3. The Temper Trap – Sweet Desposition

4. The Clash – Train in Vain

5. The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man

*Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s lovely cover of Here Comes Your Man from the film

*Some of my favorite scenes from 500 Days of Summer

(But Nancy was stabbed only two times)

*And bonus



One comment

  1. Pingback: california: day 2 | tandem in love

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