With an actor such as Seth Rogen involved in a film, most would quickly assume that it is a comedy film. While this film does have comedy at the forefront it is mostly a drama that follows a young man named Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he deals with the after shock of finding out that he has cancer. It's a basic set up, but done in such a realistic way while still infusing comedy which makes it such an endearing film. Adam before getting the troubling news is shown to have a womanizing friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), that through everything will be there for him. Adam also has a girlfriend that he lives with that is a painter by the name of Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard), who Kyle does not approve of for so many reasons. Rachel does not seem to be the most supportive of girlfriends and seems to Kyle that she does not show any kind of affection to poor Adam. Through the beginning stages of the film, Adam is shown to have a job that he wants to advance in but finds it incredibly difficult as not many people care about his field anymore, which is radio. His boss frequently dismisses him when he tries to make his work more creative. He is also seen to have been experiencing back pain which forces him to go see a doctor shortly into the movie. It is then when he finds out that he has a tumor up against his spine, and a very rare form of cancer that gives him a 50-50 chance of living.
Adam goes through the first phase of the situation which is shock. He doesn't know what to do given the circumstances and constantly asks the doctor if he will be okay, to which he even jokes saying he doesn't smoke, drink and hey he recycles. Adam then is appointed a psychologist by his doctor who is ill-equipped to fulfill his needs. She is young and inexperienced, while also writing her paper for college on her three patients. All of which annoys Adam slightly. She tries to ask Adam how he feels, which is when Adam's denial of the situation is shown. She tries to press the issue but is quickly shut down and decides to proceed in their appointment to relaxation techniques where nothing is resolved. Upon arriving at his house, he gives his girlfriend an out of the situation to which she doesn't take. She sees that he will need her around as he doesn't drive and ultimately doesn't have people constantly around to bring his spirits up in such a dire situation. However, he comes to depend on her to which she does not reciprocate, leaving them on the outs and Kyle becoming his only person that he can truly rely on. To which is where a good portion of the comedy comes from.
The film's dramatic tone lies heavily on the acting ability of Joseph Gordon Levitt, which he excels in and his ability to be comedic also generates a sense of reality in the character. He becomes a character that you can automatically relate to and like within a few minutes of the film. The film will resonate with me as a top film of 2011 because of how well I could relate to the lead character as he went through some troubling times dealing with such a rare and devastating health scare at such a young age. I myself went through something terrifying at a young age, so the moments that scared him were the same moments where the wall I put up to shield my emotions came crumbling down allowing me to really feel for this character.
I would love to give this film a five out of five but I just cannot. It dragged a little bit in the middle as it tried to really ground itself in the comedy genre as Kyle tried his best to make Adam feel normal. The chemistry between the characters was amazing and the cast was incredibly talented. Anna Kendrick was adorable in her role as Katherine as she wanted to help Adam, but also didn't want to cross any boundaries as his therapist. Her scenes with Joseph Gordon Levitt were both well written and well executed. The director Jonathan Levine, did a terrific job of allowing his talented cast to take to the project and really get everything out of their roles. Every actor did a fantastic job in creating one of the best comedic dramas I have seen in quite some time. I am not afraid to admit that one of the final scenes in the film made me shed some tears., which mind you, does not happen all to often at all. Mind you, it almost never happens.