it’s supposed to be sentimental, emotional and syrupy. it can even be in-discussable. after all, it is about dying, cancer, pain and death. but it had none of hollywoodic schmaltz. 50/50 was an honest, very funny, side-splitting peek at how much it sucks getting sick at a young age. or at any age for that matter.
50/50, inspired by a true story (from screenwriter will reiser’s own experience with cancer), starred joseph gordon-levitt and seth rogen. their characters’ lives were changed when adam (gordon-levitt) was diagnosed having cancer. imdb says that 50/50 is about a guy's transformative and, yes, sometimes funny journey to health and reminding us that friendship and love, no matter what bizarre turns they take, are the greatest healers.
i got heavily invested in the movie. for one, it had a sharp and smart script. exchanges and witty lines such as below made for a well spent afternoon:
Adam: See, but... that's bullshit. That's what everyone has been telling me since the beginning. "Oh, you're gonna be okay," and "Oh, everything's fine," and like, it's not... It makes it worse... that no one will just come out and say it. Like, "hey man, you're gonna die."
Kyle: You could have totally fucked the shit out of that girl.
Adam: No one wants to fuck me. I look like Voldemort.
Adam: What were you doing when I called? Were you on facebook?
Katherine: You know... umm... stalking my ex-boyfriend actually isn't the only thing I do in my free time.
Adam: I wish you were my girlfriend.
Katherine: Girlfriends can be nice. You just had a bad one.
Adam: I bet you'd be a good one.
Adam: That's what everybody's been saying: You'll feel better and don't worry and this is all fine and it's not.
Katherine: You can't change your situation. The only thing that you can change is how you choose to deal with it.
touching performances breathed life to these lines. i didn’t like seth rogen in his other movies but his kyle, the best bud to adam, made for a great duo. at first i felt that anna kendrick’s katherine was just there for the requisite romcom angle. as adam and katherine’s sessions went on, it became apparent that the moviemakers put her character in there not for display but to actually help adam have a different take on his illness. anjelica huston was a delight as hardly contained mom to adam. but the movie of course was carried by joseph gordon-levitt. his nuanced take on adam transformed depression into realistic comedy while making adam a more relatable character due to occasional flare-up of anger and belligerence.
50/50 made me laugh. it also made me cry and made me appreciate life even more. good, really good.