50/50 Movie Review

The lead is a bit of a delicate role.  Adam (Gordon-Levitt) goes through a roller coster of emotional events, so getting someone to fill Adam’s shoes is a rather scrupulous choice in casting.  And I think they found the perfect guy.

When I first heard about the movie, I thought to myself “Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogan in a movie together…and it’s a comedy about cancer?”  It’s a hard sell, albeit, I did get a chuckle or two out of the trailer.  I had faith in Levitt’s choice in films and his acting, and Seth Rogan rarely does something that’s not worthwhile, so I thought I’d give it a go.  Granted, I took a minute to get to it, so after the hearsay of how much of a downer movie it is, I got myself prepared for it.  Though it had been described as a “downer,” I hadn’t heard anyone say it was bad.

Plot: Adam (Godron-Levitt) is a carless, diligent, healthy-habited, nice guy who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  Leaning on his best friend Kyle (Rogan), difficult mother, and a young therapist (Anna Kendrick), Adam undergoes many challenges of enduring his sickness and it’s effect on the people around him, all the while learning to focus on the most important things in his life.

It was a really good story.  Just really well done.  As rocky an emotional road that movie is, they did a fantastic job of bringing you in and getting you attached to the characters.  When something happened, you felt it.  You just coast and smile and enjoy the ride, and suddenly there’s a drop.  And your heart just– it sinks a little.  As the characters make peace with the event, so do you…but, this is essentially a roller coaster film.  You go in looking for the comedy, and you also go in for the drama.  And boy do they do both of ’em well.  You get to those highs so that the drops have more effect.  The following is a graph depicting the progression of overall happiness throughout the movie:

I will say, I’ve only shed tears at 3 movies in my lifetime.  As a kid I cried at “Angels in the Outfield.”  Then later at “The Green Mile.”  And just recently, “Toy Story 3” got me even after my brother warned me that I’d cry– which I serously doubted would happen considering my track record.  (DAMN YOU PIXAR AND YOUR PHENOMENAL STORY TELLING!)  For “50/50”, my eyes watered up.  They watered up good.  But right before that tear could fully form, I managed to suck it right back into my face and hold onto my Man-Card.  I’m a tough one to crack, so ladies (and you sensitive dudes out there)…bring some tissues.

The cast was rather choice.  As odd a pairing as Rogan and Gordon-Levitt sounded to me, it ended up being a pretty good match.  The flavor to their characters made it seem like a real-life pairing of best friends.  Kind of like a Cory Matthews & Shawn Hunter kinda deal.  Different enough and balanced enough to really work.  I had never heard of Anna Kendrick before this movie, but she has certainly grabbed my attention now.  I’ve managed to dodge her Twilight films because whenever someone mentioned that sparkly garbage, I’d stamp them “crazy” and quickly change topics to avoid brain damage.  Little did I know that the abomination to vampire films everywhere actually hosted a real actress in it.  She pulled off an awkward, inexperienced, young therapist incredibly well.  And she’s absolutely gorgeous to boot!  Her character was this gentile hope that something good could still happen in this crazy “downer film.”

I love movies that progress so naturally that I don’t stop to think about plot points and try to figure out the outline of how things intertwine and how they got from Point A to Point B.  It’s just good writing that avoids the Hollywood formula, and it’s a huge plus to me.  Overall the movie was incredibly enjoyable, despite the emotional rollercoaster.  I left the theater reminiscing a couple scenes that really moved me, and was perfectly satisfied with being $10 poorer.