Loosely based on the story of Will Reiser (friend of producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg), Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in Jonathon Levine’s 50/50 (2011), a tentatively-labelled comedy about cancer. At just 27, Adam (Gordon-Levitt) is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer and is subsequently forced to reassess his entire outlook, including his dysfunctional relationship with self-involved artist Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard). Seth Rogen treads familiar ground in the role of best friend Kyle; offering a unique brand of emotional support and witty banter as he tries to help Adam through his treatment.
The film raises a few interesting discussion points regarding the morals of staying in a flailing relationship with someone who has a life-threatening illness, as well as the more humorous notion of if one potentially facing death should exploit their condition for sex. The Twilight Saga’s Anna Kendrick also features as Adam’s hopeless and naive counsellor turned love interest Katherine – talk about breaking the number one doctor/patient rule.
50/50’s uncomfortable subject matter and drastic genre clash certainly intrigue. It might just be the perfect (if somewhat alternative) choice for a couple’s night in. Whilst men may hate to admit it many do enjoy the occasional weepy, and 50/50’s comedic edge, along with its bromance-centric plot, will make the more macho of boyfriends feel comfortable about getting touch with their sensitive side. Meanwhile ladies will enjoy the blatant excuse for a good cry, not to mention the adorable and highly talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
50/50 represents Adam’s odds of survival, as well as the likelihood that you’ll truly enjoy this slightly underwhelming film. It provides a touching, though extremely Hollywood, portrayal of a real life trauma that many can relate too and, knowing the true story behind it at least allows us to appreciate the film’s sincerity.