There’s a time and a place for just about anything, and for 500 Days of Summer it was, very specifically, 2009.

Not a year earlier, not a year later. That movie could not possibly have existed in the form that it took in any other year than 2009.

A runaway success at the time – and one that re-affirmed an entire MySpace class’s worth of cardigan-wearing dorks that listening to The Smiths is, indeed, an adequate substitute for a personality – one thing that became achingly clear upon re-watching in the years that followed was this:

Tom Hansen sucks.

He sucks incredibly hard.

The film’s lead character, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, spends the entire movie idealising, chasing, blaming, and struggling to control the pixie-like version of what he considers his ideal match in Summer Finn, played by Zooey Deschanel.

Much has been said of Tom’s overt selfishness throughout the film by many critics in the years since it was released, and much has been made of the idea that Tom doesn’t really address his own sense of entitlement throughout it (even one of the movie’s tag lines of “boy meets girl, boy loses girl” has a caustic implication of possession about it), and the less said about the hokey-ass final line the better.

As it turns out, even Joseph Gordon-Levitt reckons Tom was more than a bit of a dick. And that, ultimately, is the whole point of the film.

JGL responded to a fan on Twitter earlier this morning who was bemoaning about the things that Summer supposedly did to Tom. In response, Gordon-Levitt invited them to read things from the opposite (right) perspective.

‘Course there’s issue to be taken with the “mostly” Tom’s fault part there. Summer wasn’t exactly blameless in all of it, but my dude chests up to her during her first week of work at a new company in a new city and basically goes “hello I’m your boyfriend now” and then gets pissy when she decides that “smooching the literal first boy she meets after moving” mightn’t be the most healthy foundation to build a relationship on.

500 Days of Summer is still an entirely decent movie, do not get any of this wrong. But, like it very heavy-handedly states throughout, there’s a huge difference between expectations and reality.