Not your average cancer flick

By Diana Campeggio
October 11, 2011

I am always looking for a movie that invokes many sincere emotions and that is something that is difficult to find.  Something that makes you shed a tear is good, but I want to have a deeper emotional attachment to the film, especially for $17.50 a pop.  Though I knew that “50/50” would be good, I didn’t know how fantastic of a film it would actually be.

Stories about cancer are usually filled with the same Primetime-T.V.-tear-jerking drama that inch their way into every cancer film (think “A Walk to Remember” or any soap opera that ever aired.)  But this movie is different.  It’s hilarious and light-hearted. I’m not saying you would be holding back tears, because you surely will be, but it’s a modern twist on the journey of this young man.

The film follows the true story of Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who, at the age 27, is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that affects his spinal column.   With an off-kilter support group of best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), girlfriend Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard), attractive newbie-therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick) and an overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston), Adam must quickly learn how to appreciate his life and the people that surround him.

The movie’s title explains Adam’s chances of survival, 50/50, and as Kyle states in the film, “if you were a casino game, you’d have the best odds.”

Gordon-Levitt’s performance in this film is outstanding.  From the comedic, to the more sentimental scenes, he continues to commit to the role and you empathize with him throughout each and every moment of his treatment.  Gordon-Levitt is most notable from the 90’s sitcom, “3rd Rock From the Sun,” but has come a long way from that typecast and with every one of his films, he continues to impress audiences.

Based on a true story, the on-screen connection between Gordon-Levitt and Rogen is a lovely thing.  As usual, Rogen stars as the comic, slightly vulgar, relief, but as the plot furthers, the depth in his character is truly revealed.  He lets his guard down and you begin to see his fear of losing a great friend. Kyle suffers from demanding optimism and though he seems uninterested in Adam’s process, you learn what Kyle is really about.

Adam deals with another issue. That attractively awkward therapist mentioned above, they are completely attracted to each other.

At the bare minimum, this is a story about a journey to health but what this film is really about is  learning who is important in your life when times get rough.

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Diana Campeggio

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