Movie Review: 50/50 (2011)

50/50 Movie Poster
50/50 Movie Poster

It's hard to make a funny movie about cancer but 50/50 manages to do it while still evoking pathos. Adam Lerner, 27, learns that he has a rare form of spinal cancer. Disbelieving the diagnosis at first, he comes to accept his condition and fight for his life with the support of his best friend, Kyle, his mother, and his therapist. The movie, based on a real story, unfolds to portray the quiet anguish of a young man who has a promising life ahead of him complete with girlfriend and job and loves both, only to find that he develops an aggressive cancer with an unpronounceable name. As Adam's health deteriorates, the girlfriend betrays him, he makes friends with other patients going through chemotherapy, his best friend tries to cheer him up by trying to find girls who will have sex with him, and he tries to stop his worrying mother from moving in. It is only during his sessions with his therapist that he is able to slowly come to grips with his condition. As he tries to beat the cancer by having an operation that will give him his only chance at life, he realizes the deep love and friendship that his mother and Kyle have always tried to give him. Until the end, one is not sure whether this movie will have a happy ending.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt is well known to the audience as the elder alien who plays the young human in Third Rock From the Sun, this movie will put that character firmly in his past. He portrays Adam masterfully as a sweet and likable young man living in quiet desperation as his illness overwhelms his life. Gordon-Levitt's easy grin and solemn face masks the turmoil that is barely suppressed as his character goes through the motions of living. Seth Rogen, plays best friend, Kyle, as the emotional foil who does his best to help his friend cope. Between the two, there is the easy cameraderie that happens between friends and the funny moments seem to come naturally as they both try to deal with the death sentence that seems to hang over Adam. Angelica Huston plays Adam's mother and of course does an excellent job of a mother only wanting to care for her only child without annoying him too much. Anna Kendrick as Adam's therapist and love interest does an okay job although her big teeth is somewhat distracting. Directed by Jonathan Levine, the movie is a little over an hour and a half long although it doesn't seem that way. Levine has made a movie that has many quiet moments that show how love and friendship stand firm against despair. He doesn't let the movie degenerate into anguish and self-pity which would have taken away from the relationships. Bring a hanky.

50/50 Official Trailer

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Comments 6 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Your review makes 50/50 sound like a movie that I will greatly enjoy. I have always enjoyed Joseph Gordon-Levitt since his Third Rock From The Sun days....and I am really glad that your review says he really shines in this movie. Voted up and awesome. I am linking this to my Top Films of 2011 hub...I have a section in that hub that shows hubs from different hubbers.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 4 years ago from The East Coast Author

Thanks Cogerson, that's so nice of you to link me.


ediggity profile image

ediggity 4 years ago

Awesome write up! However, I didn't agree with this part, "many quiet moments" I think the only time I stopped laughing was when he freaked out the night before the hospital, and the next day at the hospital. I haven't watched a movie that complete in quite a while. I was hesitant to go watch it, but it was well worth it. At least more worth it than the $30 I spent on snacks at the theater. I want to go see that movie about time next. I forget what it's called, but they take time off of your life for things.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 4 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi ediggity, I meant quiet moments in the movie, I should clarify that. The movie was worth seeing and I loved that the movie evoked so many emotions in the audience. Thanks for the compliment.


ShaunBroncoMan profile image

ShaunBroncoMan 4 years ago

Awesome review, you have done very well. I will being checking this movie out very soon.


Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 4 years ago from The East Coast Author

Thanks for the read ShaunBroncoMan, enjoy the movie.

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