These days, it seems like everything causes cancer and that everybody knows someone with cancer. Naturally, Hollywood has followed suit and has been making more movies with characters who have cancer. Cancer is a difficult issue to tackle because everyone who goes through it has a different experience, and it can be difficult to capture all of the emotions and really do it justice in a 2-hour time period. “50/50″ is one of a few films that beat the odds. They created a movie that successfully paints a picture of what it’s like to live with cancer or to know someone with it.
“50/50″ follows Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a 27-year-old journalist who is diagnosed with a rare form of back cancer. The film shows Adam’s struggles coming to terms with the disease, his experience fighting the disease, and the affect it has on his personal relationships.
Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, who plays Adam’s best friend, gave great performances. They did a great job of balancing the comedy and the seriousness of the film’s content, and they seemed to be comfortable with each other on camera. “50/50″ felt like a better version of “Funny People,” and I’m sure Rogen agreed.
The women in the film gave performances that sadly went unnoticed and unappreciated by most film critics, and probably viewers. While her role is minor, Anjelica Huston gives a spot-on performance of a mother who fears for her son’s life. Her emotions are so real, and just based on her body language you can feel that she would give anything to switch places with him and end his suffering. I feared that Anna Kendrick would have a difficult time trying to live up to the performance she gave in “Up in the Air,” but she was also fantastic.
“50/50″ takes you on an emotional roller coaster, which is exactly what cancer does; it has you laughing at times and crying at times, but you always remain hopeful. But what made the movie so great was that the emotions and the journey felt so real. After talking with some friends and doing some research, I figured out why it felt so fresh and realistic — it’s somewhat based on a true story.
When he was 25, Will Reiser — the writer – was diagnosed with cancer. Rogen is also friends with Reiser in real life, and Rogen plays himself in the film (which he also helped produce). In a guest post for the Los Angeles Times, Reiser describes his battle with cancer and how it inspired the movie. Though the movie wasn’t meant to be an exact replica of his life, Reiser said the lines between reality and fiction began to blend.
“My intention was not to draft an autobiography and rehash old wounds; rather it was to write the best movie I could. That said, ‘50/50’ is tethered to my own experience, but as I’ve come to learn, that line I drew between fact and fiction is far less distinguishable than I thought,” Reiser wrote in the post.
If you’re looking for a good movie, a good cry (or both), then “50/50″ is a great pick. Just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby.