When I first read that they were making a film about a young adult that had cancer and it was going to be a comedy and it was going to star Seth Rogen, to be honest I was a little worried. All I could think about was how many people were going to be hating on this film because of it’s subject matter and I was afraid they were going to be distasteful about it. Was I wrong.
50/50 is a comedy/drama directed by virtual newcomer director, Jonathon Levine. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt(Inception, 10 Things I Hate About You), as Adam who discovers that he has a rare type of cancer in his back, and Seth Rogen(Knocked Up, Green Hornet), as Kyle who is Adam’s best friend. The film takes you through the struggles that a young man goes through after he discovers that he has a tumor on his spine. A story that was loosely based on the life of the screenwriter, Will Reiser, which only adds that much more intrigue to the film.
As odd as it may seem the film was able to take a difficult subject matter like cancer, make it a comedy and still keep it tasteful. I love what the director was able to do here and choosing the cast that he did only made it that much better. You have Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Adam, who delivered a very emotionaly driven role and was 100% believable in doing it. While watching the film you truly felt sorry for the 27 year old that was just diagnosed with a rare cancer in which he had a 50/50 chance to survie, hence the title of the film. Levitt was spot on in his role and it was a treat to watch on screen. I don’t think I have seen him go to the level that he went with this role, not even in performances in films like Brick or even Inception. Levitt was awesome in his role, but who really shocked me was Seth Rogen. Rogen is an actor who has taken off as the crude comedian, the one who isn’t afraid to tell a joke and look horrible doing it. With his role in this film he was able to be typical distasteful Seth Rogen while keeping it tasteful to the subject matter. Seth Rogen was perfect as the comedic relief to the very serious, very emotional, role of Adam in the film. His one liners and his jokes were laugh out loud funny and ones that I will always remember, but in the background he was the endearing friend that didn’t want to lose the person he loved the most, even to Adam’s surprise. Anna Kendrick, who played Adam’s psych doctor Katie, who really grabbed me with her role in Up In The Air, gives another great performance that only cements herself as a perennial Oscar contender. Her supporting role was spot on in this film and only added that much more to the emotional force of Adams role. The love interest that started to arise between Adam and Katie made you want to see Adam fight that much harder through all the complications of cancer so he could be with her. I felt as though I was watching a group of my friends on the screen and I wanted to see them all be ok and get what they wanted, the film pulled me in that much.
This was a film that I feared was going to be distasteful and I thought there would be a lot of backlash out of it. Then I started seeing trailers for it and I thought well maybe it’ll be ok. It wasn’t until I saw the film that I truly realized how perfect it was going to be and how tasteful of a comedy about cancer it could have been. I couldn’t imagine anyone doing a film with such difficult and extreme subject matter, making it a comedy and keeping it tasteful. O’Connor and Reiser did a phenomenal job with the script and with the movie. The acting in the film only cemented it and made it that much better. If there are not a lot of nominations coming this films way come award season I will be highly disappointed. This film was a true delight to watch and it’s a film that I highly recommend. One of, if not THE best film of the year so far.