Cancer is a word that strikes fear into peoples’ hearts like nothing else. Whereas it used to be ‘something that always happens it someone else,’ now it seems that many are resigned to the fact that it may be inevitable and just pray that their case is treatable. Nonetheless, it’s something that we don’t want to think about. This is probably why, in mainstream films, cancer patients are often off-screen, precious family members that passed years and years ago. Seldom are we given a film that is not only marketed as massively appealing but also has a cancer patient center stage.
Based on the experiences of screenwriter Will Reiser, 50/50 is the story of a young man and his struggle to cope with a cancer diagnosis. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, who at 28 learns that he has a rare but serious form of cancer. With the help of his best friend Kyle, played by Seth Rogan, he tries to stay positive through relationship problems, therapy, and chemo. 50/50 also stars Anna Kendrick as Adam’s therapist, Bryce Dallas Howard as his girlfriend, and Anjelica Huston as his mother.
The film incorporates aspects of drama, romance, and buddy-comedy. However, rather than coming together harmoniously, these genres are mashed together, making the film somewhat choppy. While 50/50 is an interesting twist on the ‘living with cancer’ genre, an intriguing change from the Lifetime/Stepmom norm, this film was lacking in the integrity I would have expected from a first-hand account. This is not to say that it did not display genuine emotion, but that, at times, it seemed formulaic, from Adam’s experiences with pot-infused sweets to his making (and losing) friends during chemotherapy to his finding love in the midst of struggle.
That being said, the ever-adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt depicts a character that you can’t help but love. His Adam is fantastically human, who has good days and bad days, days when he plasters a smile on his face and days when he falters. He and Seth Rogan make a formidable pair. Their characters’ close friendship is the backbone of the movie and their on-screen chemistry keeps this relationship alive. The supporting cast of 50/50 is likewise entertaining. Anna Kendrick is cute and heartfelt as a psych student who is trying to find her own way as she helps Adam adjust, while Anjelica Huston is touching as his sensitive mother whose world is as shattered as Adam’s. Each member of the cast falls into his or her place seamlessly.
50/50 is already one of the most anticipated movies of the season. Though its medley of comedy, romance, and attractive people (inside and out) is sure to see it safely to the top of the box office, its best attribute is no doubt the unique story. Even if said story is tailored to fit what the people want, 50/50 is probably more original that most of the films it will open with, which is reason enough to buy a ticket.
7 Pot Macaroons Out of 10