50/50 Review

50/50: a recipe for success

Drama and comedy fuse to create an award-worthy picture and a must-see

Anna Scholl, Talon Staff Writer


1. Shock – 50/50, initially, left me stunned.

Often times a serious drama film containing comedic undertones is considered taboo in the movie business, mostly because it’s so hard to get it right, and most of the time just plays off as offensive to the viewers. But what Jonathan Levine, the director of the film, was able to do, was play off a challenging sequence that contains the emotional intensity of a cancer patient.

2. Denial – I was unaware of my feelings through the first thirty-minutes of the film.

I was laughing one scene, and then stoned face from the seriousness of the next. A conclusion came to place: there’s no way this movie will be able to pull itself together. At least not effectively.

3. Resistance – The sensational fear and panic of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acting made it hard to secure a tear-less face throughout the medical journey of his character’s mental stability and dealing with his disease.

4. Acceptance – The credits role, the audience applauds – except for those who were still trying to hide their tears from the other viewers – and I’m left in a silence from what I just watched.

What did I just watch? A masterpiece.

Set to be released on DVD on January 24th, 50/50 not only kept a strong balance of tragedy and comedic relief, but was able to do it in a way that made it one of the greatest films of 2011.

50/50 is a drama-comedy film based on the life of Will Reiser, the screenwriter for the film, who had cancer.

After his brush with the disease, he concocted the idea of the film in his head, which has now become one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2011.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Adam, a down-on-his-luck cancer patient who is now faced with battling with the idea of death. With the help of his amusingly cynical friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen) and an in-training psychologist, Katie (Anna Kendrick) Adam must deal with his medical problems.

Only a few years ago did Joseph Gordon-Levitt begin to distinguish himself as an actor. But after his work with films like (500) Days of Summer and Inception, his status as a celebrity has sky-rocketed. While his performances in these films were believable and well acted, his role as Adam now stands as his best executed work.

To pull off a believable representation of a person who is rotting from the inside, both mentally and physically, the respect any movie-fan should have for him should be exceeding with every minute of viewing 50/50.

However, in order to get the full effect of his accomplishment, Seth Rogen’s sarcastic, tells-it-how-it-is character has to be taken into account.

Even if you’re not a fan of him, the witty remarks that he rolls off his tongue every single scene makes for a hilarious conception of a friendship that obviously contrasts between the drama and the humor.

The movie is dominant in its assurance of itself – it knows that it’s taking a serious subject and making tongue-in-cheek references to it. This is what makes the dynamics of the film so healthy.

It’s not forceful, it doesn’t exaggerate and it simply shows the once animated world of a young man that becomes broken.

It’s dynamic, spirited and is one of the few films that holds a strong plot, acting and ability to deliver a story that audiences will remember.

I will be cautious of this year’s Oscars if the Academy is unable to at least recognize this work of art.



About Anna Scholl

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