Movie Review: 50/50

I thought this movie was beautifully done.  It’s a little Sundance Film Festival-y but really realistic.  I was a bit skeptical going in because of Seth Rogen (I’m a total non-fan).  Rogen portrays the character you’d expect: self-absorbed, perpetually drunk, and incapable of acting like an adult.  I think that we’ve all had a friend like that at one point though.  Truthfully I don’t understand why the main character Adam (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) keeps him around but that’s ok. 

So the premise of the story is this:  main character Adam gets cancer, and it’s a really nasty and aggressive kind.  His chances are 50/50.  The movie starts out in the moments right before he is diagnosed and follows him through all the various stages (denial, depression, anger, etc).  I thought Levitt did an amazing job portraying someone who is in his late twenties and is coming face-to-face with the reality that he might not make it.  He’s angry (and rightfully so) but he’s introverted so he doesn’t express it outright.  His therapist (played by Anna Kendrick) sees it though and even though she’s new at this and still learning herself, she’s exactly what he needs.  Sometimes, you just need someone to call you on your shit.  There’s this fantastic part where she calls him out on his relationship with his mom (played by Anjelica Huston).  He’s been avoiding her because she’s, well, a mom and she’s overprotective and overbearing and driving him nuts.  I don’t really know a mom who’s not that way.  ESPECIALLY when she finds out her kid has cancer.  It’s just a mom thing.

In the beginning Adam is totally a weenie.  A sweetheart, but a weenie.  I just kept yelling at the tv ‘stop being a doormat!’  He finally grows a pair though and realizes that he deserves better.  Just because he has cancer doesn’t mean he should settle.  No one should settle.  Ever. 

In a way this movie really hit home.  A few years ago my stepbrother was diagnosed with cancer and he dealt with it in a very similar way.  He shut us all out and dealt with it on his own.  It’s been a few years now and he’s recovered physically and as far as I’m aware things are in remission but he doesn’t talk about it.  I don’t know that I understand why.  I do know that there are some people who don’t like any sort of negative attention (i.e. pity or sympathy).  Since my stepbro loves most attention I can only assume that he either didn’t want pity or didn’t want to be known as ‘the guy with cancer.’  Then again, some people just can’t get close with other people and I think going through cancer “with” someone would require you to be close.  I can only hope though that he’s as healed emotionally as he is physically.

I definitely would recommend this movie to just about anyone.  It’s a little sad, a little sweet, and a little funny, all rolled up in a movie about real life.

Side note: Does anyone besides me think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks like a younger Keanu Reeves?


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