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Friday, July 13, 2012

50/50 - A Review

Don't let the words, "from the makers of Superbad" put you off seeing this film. That was the line I used to convince my wife to watch this one with me.

Mind you, if you're already feeling depressed and need an injection of good feelings and mindlessness, then don't see this film.

This is a cancer movie. Enough said.

Adam Lerner, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a 27 year old writer who learns from his insensitive doctor that he has schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma - or in layman's terms a rare form of spinal cancer.

He seems to take it rather well, or maybe calmly better explains his attitude. But perhaps the real disease that this movie explores is not so much the cancer as it is the reactions of those closest to him...

His girlfriend Rachael vows to take care of him but does the complete opposite, refusing to enter the hospital when he gets his chemo, not rushing to his aide when the chemo takes it's toll in late night vomit attacks and throwing herself into the arms of a revolting dude who dresses like a biblical sheep herder. She would rather be with a freak whose healthy than an otherwise normal guy who is sick claiming when confronted by Adam that, "you don't know how hard this has been for me!" the fact her role is portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard makes it all the more believable, she is so good at playing self entitled Jezebel types.

On the other hand we have Kyle, Seth Rogen, the best friend who appears to react in his own selfish way by using Adam's illness to glean sympathetic "attention" from women.

Let's not mention Adam's mum, she worries too much, so he shuts her out.

I was almost put off this movie when suddenly a Twilight star appeared as his counsellor. She seems a teenager and they even have to write in a Doogie Houser joke to compensate for her appearance. I'm so disinterested by Twilight that I won't even bother looking up her name, nevertheless she was a pleasant contrast to the seemingly selfish loved ones in his life, she becomes the sweet and harmless stranger, the good samaritan who leads him to his final expression, and possibly love... But I won't spoil that plot point for you...

And yes, I did shed a few tears while engrossed in this toast to terminalness. Just when you think that Joseph's straight faced acting can't get any more non-reactive he explodes, the night before his big operation, into an emotional tumult of frustration and disappointment. Thats when I cried.

Amidst the despair there are some great one liners in this film that break the morose monotone so it's not completely devoid of comedy, but as I said above, save this movie for when a little spoonful if depression won't hurt you.

6 out of 10 in my book. Cancer makes a great movie but never a good review.

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