50/50

In 2009, Joseph Gordon-Levitt somewhat randomly showed up on the biggest little movie of the year “(500) Days of Summer.” I used to know him as the other squinty guy on “3rd Rock from the Sun”. I hadn’t seen him for about 10 years since he starred in a movie that remains one of my favorite guilty pleasures – “10 Things I Hate About You.” I found the movie maybe not quite as good as a lot of people had built it up to be, but was really impressive with his performance. Since that movie, he’s been in movies that have hauled in nearly $1 billion at the box office (around $2.3 billion if you account for overseas). Needless to say, I’m not the only person that has taken notice.

50/50 is a story about Adam Lerner (Gordon-Levitt), a 27-year old radio journalist who finds out he has a malignant tumor. After doing a little research on the internet, he finds out his chance of survival is 50% (hence, the movie title). The story is based on Will Reiser (writer), a friend of Seth Rogen (who plays Adam’s friend Kyle) who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Upon the diagnosis, Adam is referred to see a young and inexperience therapist Katherine played by Anna Kendrick.

Everything about this movie looks and feel real. From the emotions (and sometimes outward lack of emotions) displayed by Adam to the nervousness of Katherine to the overbearing scenes involving Adam’s mother (Anjelica Huston), every single interaction between characters seems firmly rooted in reality. Seth Rogen, who in other movies has been a little over the top, was a perfect comic relief release valve from this movie that could otherwise be emotionally draining.

The fact that 50/50 was largely ignored by the major awards is criminal. I haven’t seen all of the 2011 Best Picture nominees, but I challenge anyone to watch The Descendants, War Horse, The Artist, or Midnight in Paris and claim it’s a better movie than this. I just don’t see it. Bottom line, especially given how many of us are personal touched by cancer all the time, 50/50 is a fantastic movie that is more than deserving of a watch.

9.0

out of 10