We originally reviewed as part of our coverage of the London Film Festival this September and you can read Kenji’s take on the film here. As the film is released in UK cinemas today we have another view of the film for you, here’s how Kelly Alyse saw 50/50.
If it wasn’t for Seth Rogen’s presence in this film, you’d probably be crying from beginning to end. I think I managed to get about half way through before my tear ducts gave way and left me in a bawling mess. That being said, I also laughed… A lot. It’s this combination of heartfelt emotion and crude humour that gives you a warm yet drained feeling as you leave the cinema. Bringing Joseph Gordon-Levitt into the whole situation just adds the cherry on top of this sad, sad cake because he’s just so believable to watch in any role he gets given, and this is no exception.
The film is a bit shocking purely because the trailers and posters make this out to be a slightly controversial comedy – I mean, what film isn’t with Seth Rogen in? But because it’s so sad, you’re shocked at how much it really gets to you. That’s why you’re drained as you leave the cinema. You walk in with an expectation of watching something slightly different in the cinema, but actually come out thinking ‘oh good god’, wiping away the remainder of your tears.
It’s a peculiar one. It’s based around Adam (Gordon-Levitt) getting a rare form of cancer, even though ironically he’s one of the healthiest and safest men there could be. We watch as he shaves his hair off with Kyle (Rogen), tells his family and girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) and slowly comes to terms with the fact he’s suffering from the horrible disease, all with the help from his trainee psychiatrist Katherine (Anna Kendrick). It holds many different elements to the story that blend well, and has this dark sense of comedy which makes the topic of the film bearable. But when the sad scenes kick in, they really do kick in. Because of the acting, the achingly powerful emotion produced is almost too much, but then you’re lifted with the one liners from Rogen. It takes you through an intense journey, producing a connection with the characters that almost makes them one of your friends.
There’s every character you need in this film from the overbearing mother to the silly best friend, and of course the love interest. It keeps you following the film to see where they will take you. The vulnerability of Adam is one of the saddest aspects of this film. He’s so helpless in so many ways. When you watch the connection between him and Katherine gradually grow, you become more involved in his life. You see how much Kyle cares for him, and how those around him can really hurt him. You’re not just crying for the fact he has cancer, you’re crying for the situations he’s put in.
It’s not all sad though. The dialogue in this film is so simple it works perfectly. Their conversations flow and their connection seems completely natural. Once he finds out he has cancer, the story really kicks in and you can begin to fall into the film, absorbing every moment with ease.
There are situations where you find it a little awkward to laugh, purely because of the topic involved as you can imagine. But putting everything together, this is a great film. The balance of sadness, heartwarming scenes and a brilliant ending makes this a great watch for an evening… Just remember to bring the tissues.