50/50–Movie Review

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5 Stars

50/50 is sort of like a Judd Apatow comedy except it’s about cancer. The movie is loosely based on the experiences of screenwriter Will Reiser who is now in apparent good health after battling a rare and very dangerous type of spinal cancer.

This actually is a comedy though the humor is naturally rather black. It begins when a young radio writer named Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes to a doctor complaining about back pain. He ends up being told by a remarkably insensitive oncologist (Andrew Airlie) that he has a rare form of spinal cancer with a 50% survival rate.

Probably realizing that his bedside manner will do more harm than good, the oncologist refers Adam to a perky psychotherapist (Anna Kendrick) who is even younger than Adam. Adam is only her third patient and she is going to have her hands full since he is not at all good about dealing with his own feelings.

In addition to the perky psychotherapist Adam must deal with his somewhat flakey girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) and his overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston).

Fortunately he has the support of his best buddy Kyle (Seth Rogen), a seemingly irresponsible character who reveals unexpected depth. (Rogen is sort of playing himself here since he is Will Reiser’s best friend in real life.)

Though the subject matter is uncomfortable the movie is amazingly good. The actors are great and the writing is pitch-perfect.