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Review: 50/50

Posted January 18, 2012 by in Comedy







Musical Score

Total Score

81/ 100

What We Thought

Genre: ,
Actors: , ,

What We Liked :

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is fantastic, Heartwarming and funny

What We Disliked:

Delicate topic
Bottom Line

While a film about cancer doesn’t sound like the best night out, 50/50 has enough heart to make it well worth the time.

by Max
Full Article

After a lifetime of always playing it safe it would seem the most devastating catastrophes are the ones that are silent. 50/50 stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam, a young man who has just been diagnosed with a rare spinal cancer. How he is able to cope with the news is half of the challenge, not to mention the difficulty those around him are having as well.

50/50 is written by Will Reiser, Seth Rogen’s real-life friend, who had dealt with cancer in his life six years ago. This helps make the movie all the more sincere. Making any sort of comedy out of a terminal illness like cancer is a fine line to walk, but 50/50 manages it gracefully.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a lot of family issues to deal with as Adam. His best friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen), seems be taking his friend’s illness as a joke, insisting he use his illness to pick up girls and assisting with shaving his buddy’s hair. One questions whether he has the right intentions for his friend when he verbally dismisses Adam’s girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard).

Rachael tries to support Adam through his sickness, but becomes overwhelmed and unable to cope with the situation. Adam decides to take on his treatment by himself, blocking out most of the support around him. His mother tries to comfort him, but he feels guilty asking her for help. His new counselor Katherine (Anna Kendrick), wants to help out as well, but often finds an unwilling Adam in her presence.

The story deals with Adam’s relationships with those around him and it’s all the better for it. His mother, counselor, girlfriend, best friend, and fellow cancer patients all have their reactions to his illness. It feels that Adam is in disbelief for some of the film, unable to cope with his unfortunate circumstances.

When 50/50 came to theaters earlier this year, I missed it in theaters. Don’t make the same mistake I did when the film comes to video. 50/50 is a strong enough film to have more awards praise, but unfortunately, that is looking less likely. That shouldn’t stop anyone from seeing it though. While a film about cancer doesn’t sound like the best night out, 50/50 has enough heart to make it well worth the time.

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About the Author


Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.



    Despite the subject matter, I found this film to be engaging and entertaining. Gordon-Levitt is just superb in this, he even made Rogen bearable as I can't stand him. I like Anna Kendrick in this too, but I think Anjelica Huston as his mom is quite amusing. She stole every scene she's in practically.


      I think Seth Rogen surprised me the most in 50/50. I never expected him to have that other layer to his acting that he has been hiding all this time. I loved this movie.


    I am so happy you enjoyed this one too Max. I cried like a baby for most of the final act!!

    Great review


      I really enjoyed how they went about the hospital scenes in this too. Most of the time they go for the shock factor which creeps me out. This was really well done.


    I love this movie. I honestly wasn't expecting much from it due to the inappropriate "cancer comedy" label, but it was very, very good. A perfect blend of drama and comedy. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one as well.


      It being a 'cancer comedy' is what kept me away from seeing it theaters. I just didn't think it would be appealing. I was so very wrong. 50/50 treads a dangerous line to perfection.


    Honest, raw and poignant. I liked 50/50 although I thought Seth Rogen's character could have been more than just the comic relief guy.


      That's funny because I actually though Seth Rogen was better in this than a lot of his other movies. I can see where he was relegated to comic relief, but sometimes that's needed.


    Great review Max, i'm glad to hear the positive thoughts! 50/50 is one of my most anticipated films of the year, I only hope it can live up to my expectations.


      I'm sure it will live up to expectations. I'm not sure when it comes out in your region, but it comes out in the US on DVD/Blu-ray on Tuesday!


    Mixing humor and painful subject matter is, naturally, very difficult. The beauty of this movie is that it does so with ease, especially with such good actors in these roles as well. Good review Max. I hope this at least some Oscar nods, but it doesn’t seem like it will actually happen.


      It's sad that movie this good will fail to be recognized by the Academy. This was a very delicate topic and they nailed it. Thanks for coming by Dan.


    Great review, I really liked this film that I thought I was going to hate. Who would of thought you could make a funny film about cancer.

    I had a slightly different interprentation of the relationship between Kyle and Adam. I did not see Kyle trying to use Adam's Illness. Instead I thought he was trying to get his mind off his illness by busting his balls. When you look at it the only person that sticks by Adam from start to finish and does not dump their own problems on him is Kyle. Thats sort of the way I interact with my peeps.

    Also felt his girlfriend was less overwhelmed by his illness and more of a skank for banging that artist while he had cancer. Loved seeing her get the heave ho.


      Well that's what we eventually learn. I was trying to leave that part about the growth of Kyle out of the review. I really enjoyed the way we eventually see him grow. That part when they are driving his car is such a memorable scene.


    Nice review.

    I am planning to watch it as soon as it comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD tomorrow. Joseph Gordon Levitt is one of the most underrated young actors out there and the critical reception to the film seems to confirm that once again. However, I am suffering from a bit of Seth Rogen fatigue, which was probably the only thing that kept me from watching when it first came out.

    Even then, I am more than happy to give this one a go.


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