15 ene. 2012

My Review: 50/50 (8/10)

¨A tumor? Me? That doesn't make any sense though. I mean... I don't smoke, I don't drink... I recycle.¨

50/50 was recently nominated for the Golden Globes in the Best Comedy category, and deservingly so, but it could`ve just as well been included in the Best Drama category because the movie manages to find a perfect balance between comedy and drama. 50/50 isn`t a hilarious movie, it really deals with some serious issues and it has its melodramatic moments, but it is difficult not to smile at this emotional movie. Director Jeremy Levine manages to put together a well crafted film that while at one moment has you holding out the tears, at the next has you laughing at the way some of these characters respond to the life threatening disease. It`s a very difficult film to direct, but Levine manages to make a great movie thanks to a good story, a smart script, and a great cast. This is Levine`s third film after debuting with the horror/comedy All the Boys Love Mandy Lane which I guess in a way was the beginning of this trademark for him in which he mixes up some genres. The script was perfect as well, managing the transitions from drama to comedy really well. Will Reiser actually wrote the script based on his personal life so I am sure this project was very personal for him, but it couldn’t have been done better by anyone else. Reiser was actually pushed to write the script by his friend Seth Rogen who actually plays the same part in the movie that he did in real life, since it was in Rogen that Reiser found the support to deal with the diagnosis.

Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is only 27 years old when his life completely turns around after being diagnosed with a rare cancer disease and only has a 50/50 chance of surviving. He seemed to have a perfect life working as a writer for a radio program, living with his beautiful girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard), and always counting on his High School buddy Kyle (Seth Rogen) for a fun time. The diagnosis changes his life although at first he tries to continue being his normal self. Rachael and Kyle both decide to support Adam in their unusual ways, and Adam begins seeing a young therapist named Katherine (Anna Kendrick) that the hospital has assigned to him to deal with the situation. She isn`t very experienced and is actually a pretty bad therapist, but does her best to try to help Adam. Rachael doesn’t even want to accompany Adam while he is in chemotherapy and only drops him off in the hospital entrance. Adam makes some new friends in the hospital during their therapy sessions together: Mitch (Matt Frewer) and Alan (Philip Baker Hall) and introduced them to Kyle as well. As Adam`s relationship with Rachael begins to deteriorate he finds more comfort in his friends and his therapist. Adam also grows closer to his overprotecting mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston), who already has a lot on her plate taking care of his sick father. The story is really well written and makes for an entertaining film and some memorable characters.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a great actor although sometimes he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. He always chooses great characters and interesting roles to play. In 50/50 he is absolutely wonderful making his character very believable while responding to the terrible disease. Seth Rogen plays his usual self, although in this movie it makes sense that he does since he is actually playing himself and I am sure many of the things he says in the movie are really the things he said to Reiser in real life. Bryce Dallas Howard has to try to play a different role soon because she is being type cast into these sort of bad girlfriend roles. It would be good to see her play something other than being the villain. Anna Kendrick is great as always with her unique sense of humor, although she doesn’t shine as much as she did in Up in the Air, but of course she didn`t get enough screen time this time. Anjelica Huston is great as always. The cast really does a terrific job in this movie and I guess it`s because they had interesting characters to work with. The balance between the comedy and the drama is just perfect making this Levine`s best film by far. This movie has its similarities with another Seth Rogen film, Funny People, which I also liked, but I think 50/50 is much better crafted and balances the drama with the comedy much better than the previous movie (mainly because Funny People never really worked as well as a comedy, but 50/50 really does). I really enjoyed this movie and found the way it dealt with cancer and its characters was really well crafted. By all means don’t miss this great movie.

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