50/50 Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 18, 2011
The attempt to tackle the story of a young man's cancer diagnosis with dosages of juvenile humor could easily have backfired. Director Levine finds just the right tone between the tragic and the funny, the optimism and pessimism. His protagonist duo Gordon-Levitt and Rogen work great together creating a genuinely realistic friendship on screen, which is no small feat. Especially in the last act of the story Levine does everything right, from the music, to the camera work and solution. Optimism has to prevail and it will!
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2011
This is a really outstanding film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a mesmerizing performance as a
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2011
I put off watching this due to Seth Rogan being in it...despite my admiration for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I shouldn't have waited, it was soooo good! This was an excellently done, off-beat, indie movie on a serious subject of life, and death. Wry humor out of a bad situation. Nice chemistry from the cast. Even Seth Rogen's crude buddy role is quite funny. Gordon-Levitt has his quiet charm that's perfect for this. There's no over-the-top drama in it; the plot just tracks the journey of a nice guy's cancer diagnosis, through treatment, and how he deals with it all. Wonderful film!! Kudos!!
Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2012
'50/50'. The characters and emotions feel SO, SO real, and are wonderfully realised through fantastic writing and acting. I experienced and felt every high and low, and it's one of the best emotional roller-coasters of the year.

I hate happy endings, but I was way too invested to hope for anything else with this. And Anna Kendrick? Wow, I have the biggest crush on her right now.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2012
Good movie, quite lighthearted considering it deals with cancer. Nothing new or thrilling, but enjoyable.
Super Reviewer
½ December 18, 2012
For the most part, at least in its portrayal of how cancer is the 400 lb gorilla in the room, 50/50 does a very nice job of getting the sentiments right. Having recently lost my best friend via this route I can attest to most of what is portrayed here.

There remains a lot of truth, especially in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's calm performance as Adam, a mid 20's man who is diagnosed with cancer. He reads that his particular type has a 50/50 survival rate, hence the film's title. The film follows Levitt as he goes through all of the "stages" of dealing with mortality, and what I found refreshing is that for the most part he looks at the situation head on - a kind of "it is what it is" fatalism where his veneer only cracks once.

Cancer also affects all those around the victim - for in fact, in a manner of speaking, they are victims themselves... watching someone close to you slowly lose vitality is a bitch. Here we have the girlfriend who ultimately can't deal with the issue; the mother (in a nice cameo by Anjelica Huston) who Adam tries to keep out of the loop- worrying that she will just worry too much about it all; and the best friend who uses humor to keep the bad thoughts at bay. Seth Rogan plays best friend Kyle in his usual overboard fashion - but here his shtick mostly works, especially when he reveals bits of a more humane side underneath the bravado.

For this topic a bit of humor is needed, and Rogan provides it, as well as a couple of older gents that Adam meets in chemo. There's a very nice segment where Adam gets stoned on medicinal macaroons and then walks down the hospital hallway, seeing degrees of what the future has in store for him. Nicely done!

About my only real complaint with the film is the performance of Anna Kendrick as Adam's crises counselor. Part of that lies in the script that has her portraying a 24 year old counseling intern - but she goes way overboard in her ditsy portrayal; making the film's subsequent interaction between patient and "doctor" a bit too "ah gee", in spite of an adequate ending sequence. Try as they might to inject some serious tone to both their relationship as well as the psychology of "that cancer thing", Kendrick's self effacing, kind of bumbling portrayal torpedoes the attempt; which is unfortunate, as really, the film does have some important things to say about the big C and how we, as compassionate humans, choose to deal with it.
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2012
Great balance between drama and humor. Seth brings the humor of course.
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2012
Joseph Gordon Levitt saves the film with his serious, fairly subtle- but ultimately functional- performance. Apart from that, it is hit and mediocre, with an emphasis on the mediocre, involving in particular a very uneven, eventually unconvincing, treatment of the subject matter, namely cancer. But, not without humour, not without emotion and not without merit. It just could do better.
Super Reviewer
½ October 30, 2011
A greatly affecting film about cancer and it's effects on the all the people involved. It has wonderful performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, as well as a couple of the supporting cast members. It's certainly a downbeat movie at times, but it takes it's subject very seriously and maneuvers between comedy and drama with a deft hand. It might even make you cry by the end.
Super Reviewer
½ May 28, 2011
50/50 is a well balanced dramedy about a sensitive topic with a moving performance by Joseph Gordon Levitt.
Super Reviewer
½ January 25, 2012
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2011
JGL is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors, and even more so after watching 50/50. He plays the part of a cancer patient down to a tee, and added with Seth Rogan's comedy the movie can go from sad to funny in a split second.......and it all just WORKS!
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2012
I have not enjoyed a film this much for some time.
Super Reviewer
May 23, 2012
A very intense and emotional watch. It's so easy to feel for Adam and it's almost as if you're going through the process with him. You hate the people he does and feel every moment of his pain, but that's down to a great script and a great performance from Gordon-Levitt. Kyle was a well needed fun and interesting character who kept the spirits up and added so much hilarity that without him, I believe I really wouldn't have liked this film so much. It's very raw and honest and something everyone should see.
Tired of Previews
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2011
Directed by Jonathan Levine, Mandate Pictures, 2011. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Angelica Houston.

Genre: Comedy. Drama

Question: If you are given the odds of 50% when diagnosed with cancer, what is your first thought: 50% chance you'll beat it or do you think 50% chance you are going to die? The movie 50/50 represents one cancer patient's progression with discovering his diagnosis while receiving those odds. I will have to admit the movie showed a rather accurate portrayal, in my opinion.

I know I put a lot of my personal life in these reviews but since movies try depicting stories we can relate to, I sometimes feel compelled to share my correlations and why I enjoyed the film or not. Although I did not have cancer, I did have a rather serious illness a few years back. While watching 50/50 I was in awe, but sometimes uncomfortable, at how close it came to reality when you to discover you are really sick.

1. You get the news: you have an outer body experience.
2. In the beginning you are irrationally calm.
3. You worry about others more than yourself.
4. Then fear slowly takes over.
5. You push people away.
6. And finally you accept the possibility that you could die.
7. Well, this last part is up to you and if you see the glass as half full or half empty...

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, the 27 year-old who receives the news that he has a rare form of cancer. For the next 90 minutes you see his life veer off a set path he had for himself. He is a fairly anal fellow who is a stickler about being on time for everything, a clean-freak and he never attempts to go out of his comfort zone. He even doesn't drive, which I never figured out why but I have my theories. It's his reactions and emotions that pulled me into this story. He did a fabulous job at playing sick, vulnerable and courageous.

I don't want to share anymore details about the story specifically, but the characters that took part in Adam's illness are worth a discussion or two. Bryce Dallas Howard plays his girlfriend. She really is getting very good at playing characters you really love to hate; however, she might have played one of the most realistic characters in 50/50. Some people fear death and dying or the ill and the reactions that come from that never surprise me...now.

Angelica Houston plays Adam's mother. Oh boy! She played it exactly how mothers respond when they hear their own child is ill. All mothers worry - it's a fact. However, they also keep many things to themselves and that discovery may shock some of their children. Angelica Houston did an outstanding job at portraying the worry, the fear and the self-reliance one requires when her world comes crashing down. No Terms of Endearment moments although it got close.

Seth Rogen plays Adam's best friend (Kyle) who is slightly obnoxious, always trying to get laid, etc... but he ended up surprising me in this movie. Nope, I am not going to say how - see it for yourself. I am not the biggest Seth Rogen fan but have enjoyed a few of his movies. However, in 50/50 he was able to play the stereotypical best friend but with a twist. There is one scene, which I won't describe, but if you have ever had a friend and know you need proof to show them something to help them see the light - then see this scene. You will thoroughly enjoy it.

It states above that this is a comedy and a drama. This is true. There was one fellow in the theatre with me that laughed out loud a lot although it only made me smile. There were a few scenes in where I choked up, but I already said this hit too close to home for me. 50/50 did a fantastic job at portraying a life and death illness with some humor and real emotions. That's sort of rare so I recommend seeing this one.

My favorite part: The proof.

My least favorite part: That it hit a little too close to home for me.

Rating: R
Length: 99 minutes

Review: 7 out of 10
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2011
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is such a mesmerizing young actor. In this or 500 Days of Summer, sometimes the pain in his face is so tough to watch but he doesn't hold anything back. He and Seth "Knocked Up" Rogen were a great duo, though Rogen is quickly getting typecast and his weed / get-laid jokes are getting stale. And you can't NOT love Anna Kendrick.
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2011
This is a dramedy inspired by real events about a young man named Adam who, despite living a healthy lifestyle (that includes caring about the environment), is diagnosed with a very serious and rare type of spinal cancer. His chances of survival are 50/50, and the bulk of the film is basically a fish out of water story that follows him as he tries to deal with his situation with the help (or sometimes lackthereof) of his vulgar but well meaning best friend Kyle, his overbearing mother Diane, his cold, cruel girlfriend Rachael, and his kind, but young and inexperienced therapist Katherine.

WHile there are some (much needed) laughs and moments of levity, this is mostly a very well made, emotional and sincere drama. Yes, it's the kind of thing that pulls on your heartstrings, but it's better done and less manipulative than something like Terms of Endearment. It's the kind of story where it doesn't have to have humor, but it makes things a little easier to handle, and also makes the film seem more genuine and down to Earth.

This is all tricky territory to get right tonally, but screenwriter Will Reiser (who based the script on his personal experiences) pulls it off almost completely flawlessly. The only real missteps I saw (and these are just gripes) are the way that the scenes with the doctor are handled (especially when Adam receives his diagnosis) and the general arc with Rachael. This film marked the second time in 2011 where Bryce Dallas Howard played an out of touch bitch that you just love to hate. Her scenes aren't terrible, but they felt kinda flat. I used to give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe becaue I was hoping she'd really be more than just an attractive face, but I'm really starting to feel like she doesn't have the talent she seemed to posess.

Other than that, this is a great movie. Rogen's portrayal of Kyle is one of his best. Yeah, it seems very simialr to sosme of his pat work, but there's a nuance to it, and you get the feeling that the way his character acts (even if it includes taking advantage of Adam's situation for his personal gain) is on;y becaue that's the only way he knows how to deal with the situation. I also really loved the supporting appearances by Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer as two older cancer patients who show Adam the ropes to a degree, and also how the film doesn't entirely go for a full on romance between Adam and Katherine.

This is a good mix of humor, sadness, and every other emotion in between, and the result is a fantastic film. Levine knocked it out of the park with The Wackness (I thought), and he's done it once again with this one. Highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2011
maybe even better than the rating im giving it. hilarious and touching, the acting was excellent, the script clever and purposeful, and the story focused not only the politics or sentimentalism but rather on the people involved in the details of the circumstances. a phenomenal film.
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2012
Young man gets cancer... and Seth Rogen's in it, too. For all the things that I thought could go wrong with this film and its promise of black humour - see Funny People or Observe and Report for Rogen's last two failures on that front - I was pleasantly surprised. It's an honest and realistic portrayal of how the rug could be pulled out from under any of our selfish pairs of feet tomorrow. Touching, and tough to watch in places, and yes, funny, too. My only complaint would be the soundtrack: Radiohead and Pearl Jam are just too big-time to drift in and colour the action, I found them distracting. Still, I liked the movie a lot more than I didn't, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt shows that his star continues to rise, taking this ensemble of young actors and more than capably carrying them across the finish line. Definitely watch this.
Super Reviewer
September 29, 2011
"50/50" has almost the perfect blend of comedy and drama in one. The most recent movie I could think of that has tried to do the same was "Funny People" but "50/50" is much more simple in its theme and portrayal. Now I enjoyed this movie, but I just didn't find it particularly funny.

Everyone's been giving Joseph Gordon-Levitt much praise for his recent outings ("500 Days of Summer", "Inception") and you can see how he is developing more and more as an actor; however, I'm one of the few that doesn't think he's particularly GREAT as many say he is. Don't get me wrong, there is a pivotal scene in "50/50" that Joseph Gordon-Levitt pulls off magnificently but overall, he's a bit dry in his performances. His chemistry with Seth Rogen's character doesn't carry a tangible quality and his relationship with the actresses isn't very believable. But because of Gordon-Levitt's experience, it isn't a movie-breaker -- it's just those with a keen eye for solid acting may be let down by his performance.

But he isn't the real culprit for 50/50's lack of substance; its the screenplay. The dialogue is very minimal -- so minimal to the point where the audience can clearly see that certain plot elements aren't elaborated on because of the filmmaker's fear of an inadequate movie. This isn't to say that the movie sucks. When the audience sees the struggles Gordon-Levitt's character needs to face, they're invested and interested, but for most of the movie, they're not convinced of the characters' relationships.

There isn't much to say about the movie but the fact that it executes the story and drama in an entertaining way but not the dialogue. The comedic value has much to be desired for but it isn't enough to avoid this movie.
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