Best Movies of All Time + [Seth Rogen]

50/50

50/502011

"That doesn't make sense though. I mean, I don't smoke, I don't drink... I recycle..."
-- Adam
50/50 is a 2011 dramatic comedy directed by Jonathan Levine that centers around one man's struggle with his cancer diagnosis. After having continual pain in his back, Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) decides to see a doctor. When the test results come back, however, he's told that he has a rare tumor growing directly on his spine. Shocked, he begins to inform those closest to him: his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his mother Diane (Anjelica Huston). Each of them handles his illness in their own way, but Adam doesn't think that any of them really knows the best way to help him. Adam soon befriends a young psychologist named Katherine (Anna Kendrick) and uses her to explain the emotional roller coaster he's riding. As time goes by and his chemotherapy doesn't seem to do the job, Adam must make the decision as to whether he wants to use stronger, more life-threatening means to rid himself of his cancer.

The first thing you're going to notice is that 50/50 isn't quite the straight-out comedy that the trailers may make you believe. While there are a lot of laughs in this film, I'd still classify it more as a drama than a comedy. A good chunk of the big-time laughs are given in the film's trailers, but there's still a few more scattered here and there. However, I feel as though if you take Seth Rogen out of this film, no one's really going to consider it a comedy at all. There's just that much drama occurring throughout the film. Still, I think that should be a given considering the subject matter. Sure, it's a much lighter look at a person's battle with cancer than we've seen in the past, but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, you still have to fight through all the emotions. The scattered humor does its job in lightening the mood, but that doesn't make the movie any less emotional.

A huge part of the emotion comes from the performances, especially from Gordon-Levitt as our lead. I've been a proponent and fan of his work since I first saw him in 2001's Manic, and he continues to amaze me with every film he does. He has the penchant both for comedy and for drama, and he's able to showcase both sides in 50/50. While he's consistently fantastic throughout the film, he takes it to a level of amazing quite a few times as well. Gordon-Levitt is so good at crafting believable characters that you almost forget he's just an actor. I was simply blown away by his performance in this one, and while I'm not sure whether he'll be receiving any Oscar buzz for the role, I personally think he should be near the top of the list.

The rest of the cast fills out quite nicely as well. While I'm normally not a fan of Rogen's work, I thought his brand of comedy worked exceptionally well in its small doses in this film. In addition, I thought he toned it down just enough and showed a dramatic side that I personally hadn't seen from him in a film to date. Kendrick also does well in her role, proving once again why she's a force to be reckoned with in the Hollywood scene. Howard and Huston also play fantastic roles in their supporting roles, bringing quite a bit of emotion to the screen from two women who should be the most important in Adam's life. All-around, the cast is phenomenal and is truly what makes the film so powerful.

I won't lie and say I made it through 50/50 without shedding a tear or two. Having lost family members to cancer in the past, this one hit a little closer to home than it might for others who haven't had to deal with such a malevolent illness. The power that Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings to the role is simply astounding, and I don't think I could ever commend him enough. 50/50 is simply a beautiful film that may cut you to the core, but it's definitely worth your time to watch it.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: A
2 Thumbs Up