It’s not everyone who can make a comedy about Cancer. But that’s exactly what director Jonathan Levine and writer Will Reiser have done with 50/50, inspired by Reiser’s own dealings with the disease. An original story about best friends (masterfully played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen) whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis. Friendship, love, survival and above all, learning to laugh are the key moments and themes in the story of Adam’s transformation from normal 20 something to cancer patient. Frequently funny, emotionally moving, a strong script and stand out performances make this one of the years best, if also over-looked films.
I cannot say enough good things about this film. I was worried going into it. (How, after all, can you make Cancer funny?) I myself have lost two grandparents to the disease. But it’s not a laugh riot at the disease, it draws it’s humor from the situation–ultimately life itself–and lets face it, life IS a laugh riot. I laughed out loud several times, and giggled many more. And in doing so, saw that Reiser and Levine have managed to pull the teeth from the disease, and downgrade it from it’s capital letter “C”. Gordon-Levitt is amazing (again) in this film. I was impressed with him in his last several, (500 DAYS OF SUMMER and INCEPTION come to mind) but really, he’s ALWAYS good, with the ability to embody a role without making it his own. He becomes the character, as opposed to bending the character to fit his personality, something most of the Hollywood big wigs could stand to learn. Adam walks a tightrope of depression and despair, but winds up translating it into edgy comedy, and he becomes all the more sympathetic and inspiring because of it. Rogen goes with his typical over-the-top in-you-face raunchy schtick, and while occasionally he can be annoying, here as the best friend and supporting role, it’s just the right amount of his hijinks to counterbalance the stoic Adam.
A great film that reminds us no matter what bizarre turns they take, friendship and love are the greatest healers.
50/50 – A