What are the odds that a film will make you laugh aloud and shed some tears? One in 100? Two in 100, maybe? Who knows? We’ll leave that kind of mind work to the statisticians. Regardless, “50/50,” starring the adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam and the comedic Seth Rogen as Adam’s best friend Kyle, will certainly have you laughing and crying.
When 27-year-old Adam is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he goes through the process which most cancer patients do: shock, denial, anger, then acceptance. Meanwhile, Adam’s girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard), slowly pulls away in order to avoid dealing with Adam’s newly discovered disease. His mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston), who is the sole caregiver for Adam’s father and who suffers from Alzheimer’s, is constantly smothering Adam and forcing her will on everyone, which only causes Adam more stress and anxiety. There is his young therapist, Katherine (Anna Kendrick), who kind of gets on his nerves (Adam is only her third patient). And finally, his best friend Kyle who constantly makes jokes about everything and is obsessed with getting Adam laid, yet he is a genuine and loving friend.
“50/50” is a bittersweet story with solid depth to it. Anyone that has experienced the world of cancer can empathize with the seriousness and sadness of the whole ordeal while at the same time rejoicing in the struggle to continue to live and the use of humor to make the situation more bearable. For those who haven’t, “50/50” is an honest and affecting look at what it means to be young and struggling with a terminal disease. The characters in this film are very well crafted. The actors give a genuine quality to their personalities in this specific situation, including Seth Rogen as Adam’s happy-go-lucky stoner friend. The script is well written. “50/50” is smooth and transitions well from one moment to the next without creating faux drama or predictable, too-easy comedy.
Overall, “50/50” is quite an enjoyable film which will give you your money’s worth in the dramatic and comedic departments.
“50/50” is playing daily at the Ashland Varsity Theater, 166 E. Main Street, (541) 482-3321.