Movie Review: 50/50 (2011)


Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the cancer patient Adam, a journalist in Seattle who has the type of girlfriend that deserves to be slapped by the womanhood of proper women for being so selfish. Initially, her selfishness is limited to her hatred of Adam’s best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and that constant babbling of I’m just not sure I love you but I do want to be with you don’t be angry fucked up attitude. After Adam is diagnosed with cancer, he tells Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) that she can leave if she wants to but she decides to stay. However, she doesn’t want to go into the hospital with him and forgets to pick up her boyfriend who has cancer from the hospital after treatment. Kyle finds Rachael kissing another man and takes photo evidence to Adam to prove his point. Adam and Rachael break up and she still tries to make everything about poor her.

Adam’s therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick) is very inexperienced and awkward and only has textbooks to go on, not any job experience. When Rachael “forgets” Adam after his treatment, Katherine takes him home and the line between doctor-patient or friends begin to blur. Adam makes a few friends during chemo treatments, older men who smoke pot for the pain. Adam quickly starts joins them.

One of his friends suddenly die and Adam is terrified of dying when he hears his treatment is not working and that he has to undergo an operation. The night before the surgery he and Kyle fights and he accuses his friend of using his disease to get girls but later finds a book about supporting cancer patients and proves that Kyle really cares and is trying to help.

On surgery day, Adam hugs his friend and apologizes. Will Adam survive? What will happen between him and Katherine?

Rating: 7.5/10

50/50 was good because it is a good movie about a horrible topic. Cancer movies are usually tear jerkers designed with melodrama to incapacitate the watcher with tears. 50/50 is a more realistic version of what happens to people with deadly illnesses and how they handle it. It shows that true colors will emerge in crisis, that people don’t magically become saints after being diagnosed and that your close network of friends inevitably contains douche bags who will find a way to drop you and make it your fault.

Seth Rogan proved that he has more to him than stupid comedies and I thought he did so well as Adam’s friend. His pure enjoyment when Adam dumped Rachael was funny and justified. His unapologetic hatred of her endears him to all who watches. Anna Kendrick always seems vapid but that worked out well with Katherine – she was truly a very awkward therapist. I need to watch more stuff with Bryce Dallas Howard in since I really despise her now because she was such a selfish woman in here and such a vengeful vampire in Twilight.

The endings with cancer movies are always a risk to take. I am not telling you if Adam lives or not, because you really want to watch this, but I think that the end was good and not obvious – things can swing either way right up until the end.

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