Inspired by a true story, a comedy centered on a 27-year-old guy who learns of his cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease.
Writer: Will Reiser
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick
Runtime: 100 Minutes
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn with Butter
Never before in the theater have I experienced the emotions that I felt while I was watching 50/50. It would lead me to the brink of tears, but then at the same moment in my emotionally vulnerable state, it would force me to smile and laughter. 50/50 is honest, tear jerking, very funny and extremely touching. The most well rounded movie I have seen in a long time and an absolute must see for anyone who enjoys film.
Adam, played by Joseph Gordon –Levitt, is a 27 year old writer for Seattle Public Radio. He has a best-friend and coworker named Kyle (Seth Rogan) and starting out a relationship with a girlfriend named (Bryce Dallas Howard). We find out very early he also has a rare form of spinal Cancer.
Adam’s relationships with each one of these people, as well as his therapist Katherine played brilliantly by Anna Kendrick and his mother Diane (Anjelica Huston) are really what gives this movie its great emotion. It is about how each different person in his life deals with the horrible news of their son, friend, boyfriend, and patient. There are also touching and funny scenes with Adam and some other cancer patients who all lean on each other through conversation, humor, and medical marijuana.
Adam does what everyone would like to do if given this catastrophic of news, try to stay positive and relaxed. He maintains the relationship with his compassionate but uncomfortable with the situation best friend and they use humor to try to get by. All of these defense mechanisms are pointed out by his young and inexperienced therapist who means well, but is clearly in over her head. The relationship with his mother is sadly realistic in that all she wants to do is be there to help and support but does it in a way like many mothers would, where Adam feels overwhelmed and ends up pushing her away. You can feel how much she loves him and how everything is breaking her heart. Each one of these characters share a moment with Adam or by themselves, brilliantly played by all of the actors where you feel exactly what they are feeling, and as the movie viewer experience with them the challenging times they are all going through.
Scene after scene you are given amazing performances that take you from one emotion to the another, feeling for the characters, rooting for them, laughing with them, and enjoying every minute of it. Stories like this need to be told more often. I hope that people are not scared of a “comedy about cancer” and shy away from this film. Go out and watch this film, it will be one of the most fulfilling movie going experiences of the year.
One final point… please don’t compare this movie to “Funny People”. Yes, the two movies both involve the protagonist having cancer and they tackle the issue with humor, but comparing these two movies would be like comparing the two war movies “Platoon” to “Pearl Harbor” They are both about the same topic but one is way better than the other. I liked Funny People but I didn’t even think about it once while I was thoroughly enjoying 50/50.
Large Popcorn with Butter.