Movie Review: “50/50”

Comedy. Drama. Emotional. Quirky Indie. Dark. Humor. Drama Based on Real Life.

These are the tags Netflix delivered me with for its latest offering in “Top 10 for You”. All relating to one movie; “50/50”.

Really!?!? If that were not simultaneously ambiguous and oddly sinister enough for you, the cover shot appeared to be of Joseph Gordon-Levitt shaving his head with Seth Rogen watching in the background. Oooookay.

Well, I though, my cousin said it was good and it’s got to be better background noise for studying than Sorority Row, right?

And so, with uneasy trepidation, my finger plunged the left mouse clicker down on that big black triangle.

As it transpires, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently.

As much trouble as many people seem to have with Netflix and their often confusing and illogical categorisation of movies that seem to have absolutely no relation to one another, for one, it seemed they were not having an enthusiastic case of label-vomit; ’50/50′ encompassed every one of those claims.’50/50′ tells the story of an otherwise healthy young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is diagnosed with a rare form of spine cancer – and is slapped with a 50% chance of survival. Witness how his perceptions of life change when he has no idea how long his will last.

As a general rule I will gladly watch anything and everything if I am to be gifted with the acting of JGL, but the addition of Seth Rogen was for me, an immediate warning flag – would an actor more cohesive with American slapstick comedy really be a fitting co-star for a man who has to only so much as look at something for it to become bittersweet or science fiction?

The definitive answer, I can now confirm is¬†yes! As was inevitable when faced with those thick-lashed baby blues there is an emotional pull towards JGL’s character that means he portrays the change that overcomes him more through little actions and subtle changes in habit than from long winded, emphatic speeches. He is just a regular guy to whom a thing has happened and now he must learn to adapt to that.

We see this overly cautious, wouldn’t hurt a fly, tea-totaller through the break-down of a relationship, the build of a better one, how to rely on others when they need you rather than when you need them, and what you might really feel if your life was suddenly slapped with such imbalance and uncertainty.

Seth Rogen adds a level of entertainment as the extrovert contrast¬†laddish best friend who shows us how learning to deal with a possibly dying friend is in itself a process of adaptation. He becomes fiercely protective of JGL and seems determined to ensure he lives every moment of his life to its fullest, possibly with underlying sentiments of “just in case”.

As well as exerting an inappropriate amount of effort towards getting laid using “he has cancer” as a pick-up line, he delivers some stunning one liners, my favourite of which has to be “I have night blindness“. This was an excuse for a prescription for medical¬†marijuana. Excellent!

Prepare to have your heart strings tugged and to laugh and cry as they yank you every which way. It’s therapy, it’s mental break-down, it’s that fear you have of losing your mind – but it also helps you find it again.

This will change your mentality. Just as the characters complete their journey to “getting” why people change, you will too.

Highly recommend!!      9.5/10