Posted by Rande Iaboni on September 29, 2011 at 12:10 am
‘50/50’ is a comedic account of a 27-year-old man’s cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. Wait a minute, a comedy about cancer? There’s no way that could be funny! Well people, it is. In fact, ‘50/50 is hysterical. I must admit I had extremely high expectations for this flick before stepping into the theater. I have always been a huge fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the film was boasting some early positive buzz. Fortunately, not only did ‘50/50’ meet my expectations, it amazingly surpassed them.
The plot is pretty straightforward, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Adam finds out he has stage 4 cancer at the age of 27 and the film follows his journey to beat the disease with the help of best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and therapist Katie (Anna Kendrick). I’ve been a fan of Anna Kendrick since her performance in ‘Up In The Air’ and once again she turns in a solid performance. Surprisingly, Seth Rogen, an actor who I usually find to be pretty annoying, won me over with this film. Not only was he hilarious in the role of Kyle, he gave a totally convincing and relatable performance. Also look out for Anjelica Huston in a powerful supporting role. But what about Joseph Gordon-Levitt? Well, he absolutely stole the film. I’ve always been a fan of his but after this picture I now adore him. You will completely fall in love with the character of Adam and while some of that may be due to impressive character development, real credit goes to Gordon-Levitt who delivered the performance of a lifetime. He allowed the audience to feel every emotion his character encountered and I commend him for that.
The directing by Jonathan Levine was also spot-on, I’ve been a fan of his since he directed the indie-horror flick ‘All The Boys Love Mandy Lane’ but ‘50/50’ is clearly his best film yet. There is one scene in particular where Adam and Kyle smoke marijuana with two other cancer patients that is superbly executed. Rogen’s friend Will Reiser wrote the script, and I was impressed at the depth of this film considering it is his first feature film. I recently learned he himself is a cancer survivor and it definitely shows. ‘50/50’ manages to handle the concept of stage 4 cancer respectfully and realistically while at the same time hysterically (without being offensive).
This film was a complete emotional roller coaster and I mean that in the best possible way. I went from cracking up in the theater one minute to actually crying the next. Yes I’m not afraid to admit I shed a tear, and that is a tremendous accomplishment to this film because I truly cannot remember the last time a film had that affect on me. ‘50/50’ is one of those rare films that manages to make audiences laugh uncontrollably while still having a ton of heart, it was a truly uplifting film.
This is a bold statement to make but I stand by it, ‘50/50’ is my favorite film of the year by far. It would be a travesty if it didn’t receive recognition during awards season (at least for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance).
A MUST SEE!