When Will Reiser sat down to write the semi-autobiographical “50/50” he didn’t try to write a comedy. He tried to write a real and honest story about a man with cancer. The result, like life, is emotional, poignant and at times really funny.
“50/50” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam, a late twenty-something diagnosed with spinal cancer and is about his struggle with the disease. He has lots of support from his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), his girlfriend (Bryce Dallas-Howard), his mother (Angelica Huston), and his therapist (Anna Kendrick).
This film was fantastic. Everything worked together and you just want to give it a big hug at the end.
The story felt real. Partly because this really happened to the writer, but the characters and the dialog all felt grounded in reality. These were people you know, these were conversations you could easily imagine yourself having.
This wasn’t another “Terms of Endearment” or “A Walk to Remember” or some other sappy, over dramatic piece of mush. “50/50” proves that just because a film’s about cancer doesn’t mean it has to be a chick flick.
Casting was another big reason why this film worked so well. Gordon-Levitt is an incredibly underrated actor. He’s been turning in stellar performances since his days as an alien on “3rd Rock From the Sun.”
He gives Adam real depth as he copes with coming to terms with his own mortality. His character is a fully flushed out, three-dimensional character that you root for and care about. You really care about Adam; not all actors can make you do that.
Rogen, Reiser’s bestie in real life, was the real surprise in the film. He was funny, unannoying and completely un-Seth Rogeny. He’s obviously meant to be the comedic relief of the film and he plays the same guy is plays in every other movie he’s ever been in, but in “50/50” it was a lot more watchable. You really like him, even if he is a womanizing jerk who uses his best friend’s disease to pick-up women.
Gordon-Levitt and Rogen have a great chemistry together which makes their on-screen banter work so well. You can tell that these two characters really care about each other.
The women of the film hold their own against the boys. Dallas-Howard, as Adam’s philandering artist girlfriend, is really good at playing characters you can’t help but hate. And Kendrick is doing a excellent job at choosing roles that make your forget she’s that girl from “Twilight.” Although Huston is underutilized as his overbearing mother, it’s easily forgiven.
“50/50” is an uplifting and touching film about life and death and finding humor wherever you can. It’s a must-see for anyone who enjoys a beautifully scripted story and well-rounded characters.