50/50

Rated R 99 minutes 2011

Even when it’s happening to you, cancer never feels like it’s happening to you. The fear of cancer diagnoses—for ourselves, for our loved ones—is so mythic that when it happens in real life, the grubbiness of the reality (tests, waiting, nausea, tests, waiting, hair loss, friends’ oppressive sympathy and/or revulsion, leading to recovery and/or death) can feel like one more cosmic insult to life. This day-to-day terrain of cancer diagnoses and treatment is where 50/50 lives. Based loosely on the experience of screenwriter Will Reiser, the film follows a 27-year-old man (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as he navigates the boring, terrifying, soul-expanding crapfest that is Life with Cancer. Armed with Reiser’s intimately knowing script, director Jonathan Levine waltzes through all the mandatory stations (getting the diagnosis, telling family and friends, beginning treatment) with a condensed wit that helps every predictable turn land with surprising force. Before 50/50, the words “cancer comedy” were most recently applied to 2009’s Funny People, but that film chose to make the cancer comedian an actual, professional comedian, with limited success. 50/50 wisely understands that cancer can make a comedian (and tragedian) out of anyone. You’ll laugh till you cry, and vice versa. Go see it. (99 min.)

Film Credits

Official Site: www.50-50themovie.com

Director: Jonathan Levine

Producer: Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Ben Karlin, Nathan Kahane and Will Reiser

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Howard, Philip Baker Hall and Anjelica Huston

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