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50/50

October 23, 2011

I’m late to the party, but I finally got around to seeing 50/50.

Being Seth Rogen’s second cancer comedy; first being Funny People, it is a much more subtle film. I found that Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the main talent of the film, delivers an amazing performance that is Oscar worthy. It’s not the easiest job in the world to make a cancer comedy, but it somehow works due to the writing from Will Reiser (whom the film is based on) as well as the many touching performances which include Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. An all around good time.

Based on a true story, this is the story of Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who is a regular Joe. He is a writer for a radio station, and works with his hardcore-stoner best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen). He sometimes lives with his menacing, controlling girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) and has a father with Alzheimer’s and a clingy mother. Sounds fairly normal for a movie, right? Not at all.

After a visit to the doctor due to severe back aches, Adam receives some surprising news: he developed a detrimental tumor located in his upper back. Being an average Joe as I mentioned, it is fairly difficult for Adam to react to something like this normally. In the next few months, Adam endures chemotherapy, heart break, therapy from an inexperienced therapist (Anna Kendrick), and extreme depression. The doctors have given him a 50/50 survival chance, so it’s life or death for poor Adam.

It’s not usual to have a cancer comedy, but somehow, it all works, mainly due to Will Reiser, who wrote the films script. Not only that, the main character was based off of his personal experience from surviving cancer. If that isn’t surprising enough, the character Seth Rogen plays is based off of Rogen’s experience with this, so technically, he is portraying himself… with a different name. Anyway, the script mostly consists of dramatic moments and dialogue, which frequently include light doses of comedy.

While there are some fantastic supporters here, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s supreme, Oscar-worthy performance completely steals the show. Coming off of his magnificent performance in last years mind-twister Inception, and his little indie film Hesher, this artist has outdone himself with one of the best performances of the year thus far, and easily the greatest performance in his brief time on the silver screen.

Sweet, sincere, and far from complex; 50/50 is an enjoyable treat for anyone looking for a very good drama. 50/50 is well-made, slightly funny, realistic, and entertaining all the way through.

50/50 = 4 out of 5


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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 27, 2011 8:52 pm

    Mixing humor and painful subject matter is, naturally, very difficult. The beauty of this movie is that it does so with ease, especially with such good actors in these roles as well. Good review. I hope this at least some Oscar nods, but it doesn’t seem like it will actually happen.

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