“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later. “ – Stanley Kubrick
A movie which has comedy or black comedy is a tightrope to walk, you never know when the filmmaker can go overboard and the characters may start looking like caricatures. 50/50 has another tightrope to walk, it deals with Cancer; one of the dreaded diseases of modern times, but director Jonathan Levine comes out in the end with flying colours .
50/50 follows the story of Adam, who is a writer for a radio station and is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. He is dating Rachael who is an amateur artist; he breaks this news to her and tells her that if she does not want to live with him, he would understand. But she decides to stay on. In his journey, to fight cancer things do not seem easy. He forges a strong relationship with Kyle, his friend who uses his cancer to get laid himself. Kyle becomes his pillar of strength when he breaks the news to Adam that Rachael is cheating on him. In the meantime Adam also makes new friends with fellow patients. He also comes closer to his estranged mother Diane, who has to take care of his father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Though she is helpless herself, she does offer to be with Adam but then he refuses at first. He is assigned a therapist Katherine in the meanwhile who is a rookie, with whom Adam starts of on a wrong note but ultimately they become good friends.
Based on the true life story of writer Will Reiser, and how he fought cancer with help of his friend Seth Rogen who plays a similar role in the film. Adam played by Joseph Gordon Levitt is one of the best characters of last year and the way how Joseph Gordon Levitt brings life to his role with his smiles and shrugs is truly remarkable. Watch out for him in a scene in the film when he rings up Katherine, his therapist at midnight. Rachael played by Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of Ron Howard beautifully plays the role of girlfriend who is not in love with Adam, but does not want to leave him at crucial juncture of his life. Look out for the scene when she talks to Adam on the porch when she comes to take back her things. Diane played by Anjelica Huston is another feather to this strong list of performers, as a woman of substance who has been supporting her husband in her illness, and now has to cope with her son’s cancer. Watch out for her histrionic skills, when she talks to Adam in the Doctor’s office and breaks down. Seth Rogen playing the best friend of Adam, who in real life helped Will Reiser to cope with cancer does an amazing job. There is always a possibility of people hating such characters but he infuses so much energy and life, which makes us wish everyone, has such a friend.
50/50 is a must watch, coming from Hollywood where subjects like cancer are treated as sure shot formula for tearjerker or drama. Jonathan and Will join forces to bring together to the audience not only a unique but an original movie, which sure is going to stay with us for a long long time.