Inspired by writer Will Reiser’s own life, 50:50 is about a man whose life, friendships and relationships change when he’s diagnosed with cancer.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, who lives a normal, unassuming life. He doesn’t ask for anything except to do his job the best he can and to spend time with his out-of-his-league girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogan). Everyone around him is ill equipped to deal with the bad news, his girlfriend reveals herself to be entirely self serving, his best friend initially finds it difficult to cope with the news but eventually finds it useful to pick up women. His neurotic mother Diane (Angelica Huston) is also carer to her husband who suffers from Alzheimer’s and Katherine (Anna Kendrick), the therapist he’s been assigned means well but is inexperienced. Everyone at work treats him like he’s already dead or death is a certainty.
Despite the seriousness of the subject matter, Reiser has managed to tell a story that’s not only genuinely laugh out loud funny but also delicately touching and at times tear jerking. Seth Rogan leads the comedy with punchlines delivered with sharp understated naturalistic timing. Often the jokes are juvenile and silly but it doesn’t matter really as they’re mixed in with surreal and observational comedy in keeping with each individual character. The directing was accurately sharp, nothing detracted from the story and the honest and truthful performances.
50:50 is an emotional roller-coaster of a film, you’ll laugh, you’ll definitely cry and if you know anyone who’s lived through cancer you may see something you relate to. A refreshing ham-free insight into the world of Will Reiser.