Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston
Running Time: 1h 40min
50/50 follows the life of a 27-year-old radio writer, Adam Lerner. Adam is living the American Dream – he has a great job, he has a beautiful girlfriend, a doting mother, and he has a quirky best friend (Seth Rogen). However, Adam soon develops severe back pain, and his life changes forever…
After a while, the pain doesn’t subside, so Adam takes a trip to the doctors – where he discovers he has a rare form of back cancer that could prove fatal if not treated with chemotherapy immediately. At first, Adam doesn’t believe it. He’s never smoked, barely drinks, he exercises regularly and has never put his health at risk. Why him? Nevertheless, the doctor is certain, and Adam must embark on a new journey full of treatment, pain, and hope of recovery. However, Adam didn’t realize that this new diagnosis would not fit in with his old life – and his girlfriend leaves him.
Adam struggles with his diagnosis. Tensions rise, relationships are strained, and morale is low. But in his darkest moments, Adam finds solace with two elderly cancer patients, and his new psychological therapist (Anna Kendrick). He soon realizes that there are people around him who want to help him and that he’s not alone. He even learns to love again.
Unfortunately, the worst is not over for Adam. He soon learns that the chemotherapy has not worked, and he must undergo a life-changing surgery to give him any chance of survival – but it’s a risky procedure, and gives him just a 50% chance of survival. This new development forces Adam to confront his problems head-on, and decide what’s really important to him…
The magic of 50/50 is that this movie can evoke every single kind of emotion known to man in one 1h 40min film. You’ll find yourself sobbing your eyes out, you’ll throw things at the television in anger, you’ll laugh until your cheeks hurt, and you’ll also feel all warm and fuzzy inside. However, behind all of these emotions is a poignant story that has been inspired by a true story.
Normally, most of us wouldn’t choose to watch a film about the struggles and the emotional turmoil of a cancer diagnosis – and many movies that do follow this theme are often distasteful or unrealistic. However, 50/50 is 100% right. Although it’s a tricky subject to adopt, the script is both realistic and humorous and provides a real insight into the true life of cancer patients, and diagnosis affects those around them.
Despite Seth Rogen’s reputation as the kind of satirical comedy, he provides a welcome release in the depths of the darkness of this movie – and perfectly contradicts and compliments Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character. Although we know him as a big Hollywood hot-shot, Gordon-Levitt provides us with a REAL character; one who is like you and I, and one who is plagued with a terrible fate. Their relationship is both vulgar and moving, and one that will truly make your heart melt.
One of the biggest morals of this story is one of hope. Sure, cancer sucks – but this movie shows you that even in your darkest of days you can find something to be happy about if you just open your eyes to those around you. It may be your worrisome mother who annoys you to no end but has your best interests at heart. Or it might be your trainee therapist, who has never had a patient before but believes in you. All in all, this movie deserves its 5-star rating.