Movie Review: 50/50 (2011)
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.
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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