500 Days of Summer features Zooey Deschanel as Summer, a quirky, aloof, "perfect" woman who quickly becomes the object of main character Tom’s obsession. Her main purpose is to complement and complete him, rather than embark upon any character arc or self-improving journey of her own. Is this a harmless play on a stock character, or is it offensive on a deeper level– suggestive of women as only objects or commodities to enhance the lives of men? Furthermore, Tom is totally blind to reality or anything else around him when in the presence of Summer. Does this mean her character is manipulative and bitchy, or simply that she is so explicitly designed to be his perfect object of desire that no one else can possibly compare?
I'm not sure the conclusion/narrative arc of the movie backs up this perspective/point of view that Summer is herself a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. In many ways, I feel like the film is a critique to the idea of a manic pixie dream girl. A key part of the film is that Tom does not end up with Summer because she ends up wanting things that are different from him/finds her own path through life. Manic Pixie Dreams girls usually serve to complete the main character. Tom fails to see Summer as a deeply complex person, instead she spends much of the film as the object of his affection or a thorn in his side depending on whether they are seeing each other. The audience almost exclusively sees Summer through Tom's point of view. There is even a scene where a woman Allison asks Tony if Summer lied to him or cheated on him, and this scene helps illustrate that Tom is wrong in many ways about Summer. Tom may see Summer as a Maniac Pixie Dream Girl, but his perspective on her is deeply flawed. – Sean Gadus1 month ago
I'd suggest expanding the discussion to other "manic pixe dream girls," such as Ramona Flowers, Margo Roth Spiegelman, and Ruby Sparks. Perhaps compare and contrast them with each other and with other female characters that are portrayed better. – noahspud3 weeks ago