|Pic: courtesy of FilmFirstMedia|
A film about a 20-something with spinal cancer, based on a real life experience of diagnosis and survival, doesn't exactly sound like a buddy movie. But that's what 50/50 is being billed as, and it isn't entirely accurate.
Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) live in Seattle and work in public radio. Adam has a girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) who isn't exactly committed to their relationship, and a mother (Angelica Huston) who cares for his father and whose calls he never returns. Adam is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer (the serious kind with a long name), and starts chemotherapy treatment at the hospital and counselling sessions with yet-to-be-qualified therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick). Adam goes through his treatment in a calm daze, but soon comes to realise that despite what people keep saying, he may not be fine.
This film really isn't all about the bromance. Adam has to re-evaluate his relationships with all the important people in his life (parents, girlfriend, best friend) and change the way he deals with them. It's just that the bromance between Adam and Kyle is so well played by JGL and Rogen that it's easy to mistake it for the most important relationship of the film. And when you know that the story is based on the experience of Rogen's writer pal Will Reiser, you can understand why the banter between Adam and Kyle is so convincing.
Rogen tries his best to overwhelm this film with the kind of sex jokes and yelling that he's infamous for, but JGL's performance is just too good to let him. You'll belly laugh one moment, and then break your heart the next. Or, if you're like me, you're fine until JGL cries and then you're done for.
This is one of those rare films that is really really great from beginning to middle to end. No big clumsy moments of Hollywood emotion, no cancer treatment montages, no grand gestures, just real people finding their way through a horrible situation. With the occasional weed-infused macaroon.
Adam: "No one wants to fuck me. I look like Voldemort."
50/50 goes on general release at the end of November.