A story about this — 2 years ago
how to over-interpret a movie:
Summer Finn begins with very modern ideas about love and relationships, but a very vintage wardrobe and apartment décor. Is this a foreshadowing of her character development, a way to add contrast and highlight just how extraordinary Tom finds her opinions on love, or is she just repulsively hipster and bought everything at Urban Outfitters?
Both Summer and Tom’s parents are divorced. Is this movie a way of illustrating this quote from Carson McCullers: “But the hearts of small children are delicate organs. A cruel beginning in this world can twist them into curious shapes. The heart of a hurt child can shrink so that forever afterward it is hard and pitted as the seed of a peach. Or again, the heart of such a child may fester and swell until it is a misery to carry within the body, easily chafed and hurt by the most ordinary things.”? Has the dissolutions of their parents’ relationships made Summer’s heart hard and pitted, while it made Tom’s fester and swell? Or is it just another random thing they have in common like listening to The Smiths?
The only two women we get to know in the movie are Summer and Tom’s little sister. Both of them are rewarded by the male characters when they act like “dudes”. I understand that Summer is meant to be unromantic, and Rachel is meant to be precocious, but lines like “Don’t be a pussy” are total dude lines, and by extension make Rachel and Summer’s unromantic opinions seem frankly more like the men around them and less like their own opinions held by fully realized characters. The dude lines don’t really fit the rest of the character. The women come across as mere projections of females who reject the male characters and/or play minor roles in their lives. Oh wait, that’s exactly what they are in this movie.
I really wanted to like this movie, and maybe ten years ago I would have. It’s a great premise in that it’s boy-meets-girl, but it’s all about the losing rather than the getting. However, in order to feel the losing and really understand it, you have to love Summer in the first place. This movie just doesn’t do a great job of making everyone who sees the movie fall in love with Summer. Instead of making her a real character anyone could love, she’s just vague ideal for a certain kind of hipster dude.