I went to see 50/50 on one premise only: It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
I don’t normally like films with Seth Rogen in, and I wasn’t sure if a comedy about getting cancer would be a bit to close to the mark. I was wrong.
This film is amazing.
The plot centres on JGL’s character who is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer and follows him through diagnosis through treatments and beyond. His character is young, (supposedly) healthy and normal, in a relationship with Bryce Dallas Howard (who has the most beautiful hair! Sorry, girly moment…) and best friends with Seth Rogen’s drunk and irresponsible Kyle.
Somehow the film manages to pivot on such dark subject matter with genuine, real to life, completely unoffensive laughs. This isn’t a film that laughs at people with cancer, it doesn’t take the mick out of a serious and deadly disease or its victims, it is laughing at the characters and the everyday circumstances they get themselves into. It reminds you that ill people want to keep living a normal lifestyle and almost, it seems, forget what is happening to them. On top of his illness, Adam’s girlfriend is unfaithful (WHY?! HAVE YOU SEEN JGL?!) and his overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston brilliant as always) desperately wants to look after him, when really he just wants to stay in with his greyhound Skeletor and smoke medicinal marijuana.
It is heartwarming to the extreme, while being genuinely laugh out loud funny. I was on the verge of tears for the entire thing (and pretty much had a meltdown at the end), but was also laughing almost continually which really is a bizarre and ingenious balance to achieve. It is exactly the type of film JGL is perfect for: a gentle and thought-provoking indie pic where he beautifully portrays every single emotion without really saying anything. The fact that he doesn’t cry for almost the whole film is remarkable and makes his eventual breakdown hit the audience full pelt, with not a dry eye left in the house. The same goes for Anna Kendrick. I love them both for their understated way of acting – it just makes the characters seem so much more real.
Don’t get me wrong though, this is not a chick flick. Yes it has a relationship break-up, but the film focuses more on the bromance between Adam and Kyle, luckily without resorting to the stag-do-esque nature of other male bonding films (I’m looking at you The Hangover). Yes it’s a tearjerker, but it’s also a witty and clever script that never takes away from the serious nature of its subject, and doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable. I genuinely hope you all go and see it as it is definitely my film of the year.