Saturday, October 8, 2011

50/50 Film Review

     I just saw the film 50/50 tonight and it was amazing.
     It is one of the best films I've seen in theatres in a while, and probably the only movie I've seen in 2011 so far that I genuinely loved. Other than Harry Potter, I haven't really left a theatre thinking "I'd watch that again," or, even crazier in this day and age, "I'd buy that." It was awesome. I laughed, I cried. It had everything: tragedy, friendship, family issues, romance. Everything a good film needs (plus super attractive, famous, and talented people in every role.)
     Joseph Gordon-Levitt was perfect in the starring role. He's a great actor and can say more with his face than words, which was excellent for the character of Adam - a young person recently diagnosed with cancer who doesn't feel like sharing too many emotions.
     Seth Rogen co-stars as Adam's best friend Kyle. Kyle tries to support Adam while simultaneously using his cancer to help them pick up girls. I've always been a fan of Rogen's and thought he stole the spotlight in all of his scenes, but for people who don't like him, give the film a chance. This is his best role yet, probably because it hits so close to home. (His friend Will Reiser wrote the semi-autobiographical script and Rogen helped produce it and stars as a version of himself.)
     Anjelica Huston is Adam's mom, and as my boyfriend said, she is "the mom" in movies. She does a good job of playing the worrywart, overprotective mom but really shines in one particular scene, just before Adam goes into surgery, when the anaesthetologist tries to rush Adam off and Huston gives him an icy stare, says "can you. give us a moment. please." and continues to hug her son. It was so sweet and caring. I cried.
     Bryce Dallas Howard and Anna Kendrick play roles that could  have been completely 2-dimensional (the bitchy girlfriend the audience hates, and the cute sweet girl you wish could be Adam's girlfriend, respectively), especially since they were written by a man, but I thought the film did a great job of showing all perspectives in the story. Nothing was black and white. Emotions were complicated, and it wasn't so simplistic that we could just hate the bitchy girlfriend. Reiser actually evoked empathy for her, and it wasn't enough to just have Adam fall for Kendrick's character. The film built it up slowly and their relationship wasn't really the point of the movie, anyways.
     That's what makes the movie great. Even though it could have been formulaic and contrived (a bro-comedy, a rom com, a family drama, and inspirational story) it doesn't slide into any of those categories easily, and that's because there is nothing else really like it. I forget the source so I can't find it online and will therefore misquote it, but I read an interview with Rogen and Reiser and Rogen said that when Will was diagnosed with cancer, they were looking for a movie to compare his situation to and there wasn't one, so they made one.
     The movie had a good mix of quiet and loud, laughter and tears, vulgarity and tenderness. It was perfectly cast, the score was great, and it was a very pretty film. The actors are pretty, the setting is pretty, the clothes were nice. It has all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster, but 1.) it has actual substance, 2.) it has a topic everyone can relate to, because cancer touches all our lives and 3.) it doesn't take itself too seriously. People say laughter is the best medicine and 50/50 isn't afraid to, as the reviews are saying, "laugh at cancer."

I don't have a rating system. I'll give it 5 pot-filled macaroons out of 5.
Go see it. It's awesome. You will be able to relate to it. It will be just what you need.

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