The film 500 Days of Summer

1). Summarize your reaction to this film in a four to five-sentence poem, rhyming or non-rhyming. This is not an option. To earn points for this question you MUST write a poem. Be prepared to read this poem to your group. (Note: this question seeks a reaction, not a summary.)

To Tom love was his objective, but Summer thought otherwise,

So, love was his downfall, and indeed he failed terribly,

Not at convincing Summer of his love for her, but controlling his emotions.

While other opportunities came knocking at his door, he ignored them all,

Just because of his love for Summer, and so he failed terribly.

2) What is the significance of the non-linear format (jumps around in time as opposed to being chronologically ordered) of this film? Connect this formatting choice to at least two terms or concepts we have discussed this quarter. For example: This format can be connected to the Interactive Communication Model & fields of experience.

While most authors and directors prefer to use linear format for narratives and films production, the truth is that non-linear form is also essential and comes with several advantages in narrative and films. The use of non-linear format in the film 500 Days of Summer had three key importance. First, the non-linear format enhanced the clarity and the pace of the movie thus enabling the viewer to coalesce the major themes of the movie. Secondly, the format demonstrated the characters’ depth thus creating a special attachment with the viewer towards the characters’ personalities. Lastly, the use of the non-linear format was advantageous in increasing the tension of the movie by presenting some useful information which results in out of cause-and-effect sequence.

3) How does this film reinforce or perpetuate gender norms and stereotypes? You can respond to this question based on Tom & Summer specifically or the larger social context of the film. List at least two examples/instances.

While the 500 Days of Summer film may be viewed as romance-based film, the film also portrays the issue of gender norms and stereotyping. In a normal society, it is the norm for a man and a woman to date each other then finally settle down in marriage. While Tom reinforces the gender norms by believing that it was a must for Summer to marry him, Summer, on the other hand, refuses to be married to him, portraying herself as an independent woman. Because of her decision of rejecting Tom’s marriage proposal, Summer is stereotyped as unreliable lady who does not deserve Tom’s time and love. The other instance in the movie where the aspect of gender norm is portrayed is when Tom gets into a fight with another man in bar when the strange man tries to pick up Summer.

4)How does the film challenge gender norms and stereotypes? List at least two examples/instances.

The 500 Days of Summer film also strives to challenge gender norms and stereotypes. For instance, the fact that Summer was able to maintain her ground that she was not ready to be married to Tom is an indication that women today can make their own independent decisions without being influenced by their partners or society in general. Also, the fact that Tom’s blind date with Alison did not go well as they expected challenges the everyday gender norm that marriage is just about getting a partner and settling down together as couples. The failure of the blind date to achieve its primary purpose is an indication that mutual understanding between couples is essential in enhancing the computability of married couples.

5) Which relational dialectic does Tom most struggle within this film? Explain your response.

Based on his emotional instability and the depression that he faced after Summer failed to marry him, it is evident that Tom struggles with seclusion relational dialect.

6) How does Tom and/or Summer benefit from self-disclosure?

Tom and Summer benefit from self-disclosure because it enabled them to create a friendly and mutual relationship.

7) What does Tom and/or Summer risk from being self-disclosive?

The aspect of self-disclosure between Tom and Summer also came with its negative effects. It prevented Summer from being open to inform Tom that he could not marry him because she wanted to remain independent. The aspect of self-disclosure also inhibits Tom from accepting the fact that he will never get the chance to settle down with Summer.

8) …Speaking of hegemonic power*!? How does pop culture: films, TV, advertisements, music, social media, etc. influence how we define or view love/marriage? Which type of romantic love is typically celebrated in pop culture?

The pop culture as embeddedin most films, TV adverts, music, and social media influences how individuals perceive love and how they express the theme of love towards each other. The culture revolves around material satisfaction of a woman needs and also asking for the lady’s consent before marrying her by proposing while kneeling. For instance, the fact that most of these movies are about men taking their women to fancy places, buying them fancy dresses, and conducting an expensive wedding, indicates that most relationships today are not based on real love but are instead based on material satisfaction.

9) Trace the path of relation formation as you see it played out in Tom and Summer’s relationship. Define each of Knapp’s stages in a single sentence using YOUR OWN WORDSthen provide a single sentence description of when that stage occurs in the film. Are there any stages that seem to be skipped entirely? (10).

According to Knapp, there are five key stages in relation formation which are initiation, experimenting, intensifying, integrating, and bonding. All these five stages are evident in Tom and Summer’s love relationship.

Your definition of Initiating:It refers to the process of starting something.

When it occurred in the film: The aspect of initiation in the500 Days of Summer film occurred when Tom started to take Summer out for dinners as a way of coating her.

Your definition of Experimenting:It is the process of trying out something to determine whether it is possible to achieve a given goal.

When it occurred in the film: Tom was dating Summer to experiment whether they would create a perfect marriage.

Your definition of Intensifying:It refers to the process of increasing the effort one places on achieving a given objective.

When it occurred in the film: Tom intensified his chase for Summer when he decided to take her out to watch a romantic movie together.

Your definition of Integrating:It refers to the process of summing things together.

When it occurred in the film: Tom’s main goal for dating Summer was to integrate their love.



Your definition of Bonding:It refers to the process of establishing a relationship.

When it occurred in the film: Tom showed Summer his favorite part of the city as a way of bonding and getting to know each other better.

10) Trace the path of decline/dissolution as you see it played out in Tom and Summer’s relationship. Define each of Knapp’s stages in a single sentence using YOUR OWN WORDSthen provide a single sentence description of when that stage occurs in the film. Are there any stages that seem to be skipped entirely? (10)

Knapp identified five stages which he described were essential in the dissolution process. These stages are differentiating, circumscribing, stagnation, avoidance, and terminating. All these five stages were all portrayed on Tom and Summer’s love relationship.

Your definition of Differentiating:It refers to the process of ascertaining what makes two things or people different.

When it occurred in the film: During his conversation with his sister Rachel, Tom was able to differentiate the type of love he and Summer felt for each other.

Your definition of Circumscribing: It is the process of restricting to something

When it occurred in the film: Summer’s love towards Tom was circumscribed around friendship as opposed to intimacy.

Your definition of Stagnation:It refers to the lack of growth or inability to change

When it occurred in the film: Despite all his attempts to change Summer’s view of him, Tom’s relationship with Summer stagnated at the friendship stage.

Your definition of Avoiding:The process of keeping away from doing something.

When it occurred in the film: After realizing that Summer could not love him as he initially expected, Tom and Summer started to avoid each other.

Your definition of Terminating:It is the process of bringing to an end.

When it occurred in the film: After meeting Autumn and finding that they had much in common, Tom started to pursue her love, thus terminating his desire to marry Summer.

11) What role does self-fulfilling prophecy play in this film? List one example of the full cycle.

A self-fulfilling prophecy refers to a person’s prediction which directly or indirectly becomes true based on the very terms that were used in making the prediction. In the film, Rachel had suggested that Summer did not love Tom and that their relationship was bound to end. In the end, Tom accepts this fact even though it hurts him so much. The fact that Tom finally meets another lady, Autumn, and together they create something unique, proves Rachel’s self-fulling prophecy.

*Hegemonic power: The process by which a dominant culture maintains its dominance. This type of power is often “invisible” or abstract in that it cannot be traced back to a single source and may be thought of as “common sense” in the absence of critical evaluation. The consequences faced when one does not submit are typically social versus physical.

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