I almost didn’t rent this movie because it’s got Seth Rogen in it. No offense to him, it’s just that his type of movies aren’t usually my type of movies. When I saw him on the cover, despite the glorious presence of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I worried it might be one of those druggie/party movies that every seems to love (but me)
50/50 is about Adam, a radio writer whose girlfriend Rachel stays with him most nights. He also likes hanging out with his best friend Kyle who often gives him a ride to work since Adam can’t drive. I like Adam ‘cos he’s quite quiet and chilled out and like me he doesn’t smoke, drink or drive.
One day he goes to the doctor about a recurring backache and the doctor tells him he’s got schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma. Adam’s reaction is just what you’d expect “So sorry… I don’t know what that is”. The doctor tells him it’s cancer, and after that Adam doesn’t hear anything else he says.
That doesn’t make any sense, though. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. …I recycle…
The impersonal, impassionate way the doctor delivers the news is so abrupt. He’s really uncomfortable when he thinks he detects Adam’s emotional reaction and quickly tells him about the hospital’s counselling services, which Adam eventually makes use of in the form of cute young psychiatry student,
Katherine. The rest of the film follows his live in the aftermath of his “50/50” diagnosis.
This film does a great job of showing how cancer affects not only the patient but also the other people in his or her life and the unexpected star of the show – yup, I’m gunna say it: Seth Rogen. Joseph totally deserved his Oscar nomination for this – he was crazy-awesome – but watching someone as they’re
diagnosed with a serious form of cancer and undergo treatment is really intense and kind of exhausting. Kyle’s irreverent humour is the perfect foil for the dark hopelessness of what Adam’s experiencing. He’s a really good friend. He drives Adam to his hospital appointments but he also persuades him to use his cancer to pick up chicks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there aren’t enough positive male relationships in movies, but I think this is one.
This film is definitely one of my top two cancer movies of all time. That’s right, it’s right up there with Wit.
The back of the DVD case (which I didn’t read ’til after the movie, thank goodness) calls the film a “laugh-out-loud comedy” and both its Oscar nominations (best movie and best actor) were in the ‘Comedy or Musical’ category. That’s messed up. I mean, sure, I LOLed. But I don’t think that makes it a comedy. I also cried. I think it’s more of a “drama”, myself. But what do I know? I haven’t had cancer.
If you think this sounds like your kinda movie, I highly recommend getting it on your next trip to the DVD rental store. But I do not recommend reading the back of the DVD case, it totally gives away the ending.
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Will Reiser
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick