#340/ 365 – ’50/50′ – 100 mins
Cinema Challenge #125 / 115
At 27, Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a great job and a talented, attractive girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard). But Adam’s just been told he has a rare form of cancer. The doctor puts his chances at 50/50 – which, as his oafish buddy Lyle (Seth Rogen) points out, is better odds than you’ll get in any casino. So now Adam has to embark on a journey that no young man should have to take as he enters the world of counselling sessions and chemotherapy clinics. Kyle, meanwhile, sees an opportunity to score medicinal marijuana and play on girls’ sympathy. And Adam’s overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston) gets swept up in the drama of the situation.
50/50 has to walk a very fine line between the comedic and dramatic. Too much comedy and it will prove distasteful of its tragic Cancer subject matter, then too sentiment and the comedy will feel completely out of place. It’s a precarious balancing act, but its one screenwriter Will Reiser to whose life the film is loosely based on and director Jonathan Levine pull off impressively.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers a great performance as sufferer Adam and he’s convincing in his ranging emotions of fear, frustration and anger. Seth Rogen is once again on hand to play his one-dimensional funny character that he’s sorely typecast to these days, but its welcome here and he plays out the role of Adams best friend exceedingly well. Anna Kendrick pulls in a sweet and charming performance as Adams fresh out of school therpist. Also both Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston also shine in their roles, Howard as the unfaithful girlfriend and Huston as the over-bearing but very moving mother.
There’s was always a chance that something like 50/50 could have played out badly. But as you become entirely invested in the characters, it proves to be a smart, funny and moving film that shows the testament of power of friendship and support can have during a traumatic experience.