To keep things simple, this movie surpised me as a darker true drama comedy. I wasn’t sure about 50/50 going in, and I was surprised that I liked it more than 50/50 percent. I hadn’t seen any trailers, but knew I was going to see it based on my mom’s need to see it. That’s solely because Josephy Gordon-Levitt was meant to be play by fellow boss actor, James McAvoy. But, all the same, it was a moving film about cancer that I’d never really seen before. It was edgy with just the right amount of humor (AKA Hall scene, when you see it, you’ll know.) and just enough human connection. Although I thought it was going to be a comedy, I was pleasantly surprised to the contrary.
This is a true story (about one of Seth Rogen’s friends, I think) who was diagnosed with cancer in his late twenties. With seemingly nothing wrong in his life, Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a radio producer in his prime with a
loving girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard). His best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) is a bit of a dick, but he really sticks by Adam. Include a neurotic, worrying mother (Anjelica Huston) and you’ve got the heartbreakingly bittersweet journey of one man’s back cancer.
There were lots of things I loved about this movie. First off, Adam and Rachael’s relationship. Adam, for lack of a better word, is spineless (and that’s a pun). He doesn’t assert himself anywhere in life, and you feel that would set up for his last run at life full force with his knowledge of cancer. But that’s not what happens at all. At least, not until the threat of
death towards the very end. I have to say, the entire ending is one gigantic emotional scene. I’m pretty sure everyone shed at least one tear in that theater. Anyways, Rachael is an artist, and she has all of these “expos” and “galleries” all the time that gives her not much time for Adam, although she promises to stay by his side and help him through his disease. Fat lot of good that does.
Adam’s relationship with his parents is something I would have liked to see a lot more of. Adam’s father has Alzheimers and hasn’t remembered his son for quite some time. His mother has both her father and her estranged son to dole on, but never is really give the chance to help and care for them. Adam’s friendship with Kyle (AKA, Seth Rogen in every movie) is something that isn’t worthwhile until the end of the film. In a Knocked Up/40 Year Old Virgin mash-up, Seth Rogen drinks and smokes as he does in every movie and tries to get laid. He’s skinnier now, but it’s still sad. If this is how he truly acted around his real friend with cancer, I will now shudder with the thought.
Add also into the mix, Anna Kendrick. Current Twilight understudy, like many of the other Twilighters, she has broken away from the stereotypical marble mold and been given a chance for bigger and better works. I would say this is one of them. Playing an awkwardly naive therapist, Katherine attempts to help Adam come to terms with the idea of dying, although his chances are 50/50.
There are some eye opening scenes and experiences in this movie that I never really knew about. Chemotherapy and its aftermath looks horrendous and tragic. The diminishment of life that is experienced while just going through treatment is completely harrowing. The toll that cancer can play on not just the life of the person, but the life of everyone the person knows, is beyond comprehension. All of this issues come to a beautiful story about Adam that I would love to give credit to director Johnathan Levine and writer Will Reiser. With a great cast (besides Seth Rogen for the most part, but, if Seth Rogen is playing Seth Rogen, then it’s all good) and a fantastic delivery, this movie is worth a watch or two for a good life perspective switch. 9.3 out of 10.