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Movie Review: 50/50

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Jonathan Pires wrote this review 5 years and 10 months ago

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Yes, You Are Allowed to Laugh: A review of “50/50”

Cancer is a very sensitive topic.  It afflicts individuals and their families and causes great pain, both physically and emotionally.  Comedy is definitely not something that comes to mind when you think of cancer nor does it seem appropriate.  “50/50” attempts to challenge that idea and pulls it off beautifully.

The film begins with a young man named Adam who seems content with life.  He has a best friend anybody could ask for named Kyle, a beautiful girlfriend and a job he seems to have an interest in (despite his having to write about volcanoes for his radio station). 

One day, he’s getting coffee with his best buddy when he starts having back pain.  Upon having it checked out, he discovers he has cancer.  As you can imagine, finding out you have cancer at 27 is not exactly the best news, especially when you are receiving it from the world’s most insensitive doctor.  Apparently when you go to school to become a doctor, you learn to leave your soul at the door.

Levitt’s portrayal of a young man faced with the realization that his life could end at any day sets up situations in the film that bring a big burly man like myself to tears.  Levitt begins the movie seeming generally accepting of his disease, convinced that everything is going to be fine.  He has his supportive girlfriend and over-loving mother to help him along with his best friend. 

As the movie progresses, he starts to realize that just saying everything is okay may not be enough.  From this comes a story filled with a fine balance of comedy and drama, with the actors delivering a performance that this subject matter demands.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt performs beautifully as a distraught 27 year old with cancer.  I have said this before and I will continue to say it; Levitt is an actor whose passion for the art of acting comes through in his performances.  There were moments in the film where I could not tell if what I was watching was a movie or if I was peering into this poor man’s life. 

Rogen plays opposite Levitt as his best friend.  Now I am not a huge fan of Rogen lately but his performance in the film is a good balance between his goofy charm and crude behavior.

Overall, the film pulled off a touchy subject with great ease.  The director weaved in an out of comedy effortlessly.  Nothing seemed forced or awkward unless it was intended.  I just hope that people do not see success in this film and decide that cancer is a good topic for comedy.  The success of this film hinged on its ability to inject comedy into a dramatic situation without taking it lightly and giving it the proper respect it deserves.   



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