Summer Finn (Movie) Character in “500 Days of Summer”

This post includes a character analysis of Summer Finn, the protagonist’s love interest in “500 Days of Summer”.

Directed by Marc Webb, the 2009 romantic comedy-drama stars Zoe Deschanel as Summer Finn. Beware of spoilers.

500 Days of Summer

In “500 Days of Summer”, Summer Finn gets into a romantic fling with her co-worker Tom Hansen. However, due to compatibility issues, Summer broke up with Tom.

The end of the relationship takes a toll on Tom’s mental health. The young man cannot stop thinking about Summer and falls into a deep depression. A few months later, Tom bumps into Summer again. She later invites him to a party at her apartment. Tom gets his hopes up again, only to be later crushed by Summer’s engagement news.

Meanwhile, time goes by, and Tom spots Summer at his favourite place. During their interaction, Tom asks why Summer chose to get married to her husband and not him. And her answer was very simple: she didn’t feel that Tom was the one. Then they parted ways after wishing each other happiness.

Note: For those who are interested, here is another article discussing the meaning behind the ending of “500 Days of Summer”.

Summer Finn Character Analysis in “500 Days of Summer”

“500 Days of Summer” presents Summer as a free spirit who enjoys distancing herself from the ideals of romantic love. She met the protagonist (Tom Hansen) at the workplace. Although Summer Finn is not a hopeless romantic like her former boyfriend Tom, she does end up getting married.

In terms of personality, Summer Finn is smart, charming, and fun to be around. Also, she is very upfront about her particular views on love. Summer Finn doesn’t expect much from relationships, as she deems them complicated and most certainly doomed to fail. As a result, Summer tends to reject labels, avoid expectations, and prefers to live in the moment.

Summer Finn’s parents divorce heavily influenced her view of love and courtship. Ever since their split, Summer became somewhat pessimistic about love. Despite dating actively throughout her life, Summer doesn’t really see herself in a long-term romantic relationship. During breakups, Summer might come off as a cold person as she gradually distances herself from her former partners.

Summer Finn’s Character Evolution

Although Summer Finn’s personality does not change throughout the film, her views on love do. In the end, Summer marries a man, but is not Tom. Throughout her personal journey, Summer comes to the realization that love exists, but it has to be with the right person.

The breakup was not entirely Tom’s fault, Summer just didn’t feel that what she had with him was “it”. However, things are different with her now-husband. Things just feel right, and that’s why she agreed to marry him.

Is Summer Finn the villain in “500 Days of Summer”?

Summer Finn is not the villain, nor is she the antagonist of “500 Days of Summer”. When Summer refused to play along with Tom’s fantasy, she became the “bad guy”. After the breakup, Tom decided to paint Summer Finn as a villain and a heartbreaker for ending their seemingly perfect relationship. However, they weren’t that compatible to begin with.

The film has a very unreliable narrator, Tom Hansen. “500 Days of Summer” is mostly told from Tom’s point of view. At the beginning of their relationship, Summer looked fun and loving, but as the romantic feelings started to fade away, she became somewhat cold and detached. But is that so?

Summer Finn is many things, but she is not a liar. She has always been honest about her views on love. However, Tom didn’t want to hear it. All the young man cared about was how much he was in love with this woman. As a result, he built this whole narrative around their romance. Summer exists in his world not as a human being but as a character.

There are moments in the film where one might think that Summer is sending Tom mixed signals. But in reality, she is not. For instance, when Summer invited Tom to her apartment, she wasn’t playing with his feelings. It was Tom’s fault for getting his hopes up. Summer didn’t make him believe that there was another chance for them, Tom wanted it to happen.

As mentioned before, Tom is a hopeless romantic and he truly believed that Summer Finn was the “one”. However, there is no real evidence to support his beliefs. Tom was infatuated with Summer and therefore, he labelled her as the “one”.

Final Thoughts

Summer Finn represents people who are very pragmatic about love and relationships. Her views are not wrong, though. There are more statistics proving that most romances have an expiration date than otherwise.

Why did Summer and Tom’s relationship fail? First and foremost, they have opposing views on love. Second, Tom was too emotionally immature to deal with someone like Summer. Her past, mostly her parents divorce, shaped Summer’s pessimistic views on love. Tom needed to be more grounded in order to understand Summer, a person with trauma.

The ugly truth about relationships is that love is not enough. Just because Tom was “nice” to Summer doesn’t mean that she has to love him back, because love is not transactional. Summer’s inability to reciprocate Tom’s deep feelings may make her look “bad”, but she is in every right to do so.

Although Summer starts as a non-believer in all things related to romance, people change. Meeting the right person made Summer reassess her beliefs. Ironically, the one who didn’t believe in love actually got married before the hopeless romantic did. In the story, Summer challenged Tom’s idealized notions of romance, and her current husband challenged Summer’s pessimistic view of love.

One of the greatest life lessons that Summer teaches Tom (and the audience) is that there is no right or wrong way to do relationships. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they do not. Nonetheless, there is beauty in love, even if it’s not meant to last forever.