Created on Monday, 28 November 2011 00:00
Written by Samantha See
When all things that matter – love, life, work – seem to have fallen in place, how would you take it if you then get diagnosed with cancer? 50/50, starring a brilliant Joseph Gordon-Levitt, works on this premise.
27-year-old public radio producer Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) seems to have it all – his dream job, a hot girlfriend and best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen). That is, until he is informed that he has a rare type of spinal cancer and there is a 50/50 chance that he might survive it. As he struggles to come to terms with this news, he meets greenhorn therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick) and realises his sexy artist girlfriend Rachel (Bryce Dallas Howard) is less than perfect. Thankfully, loyal buddy Kyle who gives him a ride every day to where they both work – at the Seattle public radio station – and now to his chemotherapy appointments.
Along the way, there are a few delightful scenes by supporting actors and actresses such as fellow cancer patient Alan (Philip Baker Hall) who offers Adam marijuana-laced macarons as well as Adam's concerned mom (Anjelica Huston) who wants to move in with her son despite her struggles with her own senile husband. Gordon-Levitt himself plays his stoic character well, revealing emotions subtly, including a powerful scene towards the end as he holds on to his mother for support he usually shuns.
Though the characters seem to take the illness with a pinch of salt and laughter, the hanging tension, sadness and fear gives the film a genuine and even documentary-like feel. Rogen's huge success as a comedian and the premise of the film doesn't lighten or counters this atmosphere either. No surprise since the film was based on screenwriter Will Reiser's own diagnosis with spinal cancer and how Rogen, his real-life buddy, and he handled the news.
The film, heartwarming with a touch of bittersweetness, dealt with receiving the news honestly and realistically. A great film to catch when you feel low. You might also like: Puss in Boots
, Legendary Amazons
, The Rum Diary