'A comedy about cancer'
Since my skiing accident, I've made a new friend. Someone I can rely on to provide me with entertainment at a moments notice, or to lift my spirits in the dead of night. We can relive old memories and past times, and discover new passions to share together. That friends name is Netflix.
After failing to fall asleep last night, I called upon my new pal to help keep me occupied during this lonely time. I didn't fancy yet another episode of the American dramas I'd become hooked on, so I settled on a film which I'd wanted to see when it was advertised a couple of years ago.
Based upon writer Will Reiser's battle with a rare form of spinal cancer, 50/50 follows twenty-something radio producer Adam's battle against the disease. With a fifty per cent chance of overcoming the condition, Adam (Joseph Gordon -Levitt) is 'helped' in his journey to beating the illness by his well-meaning but tactless best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and his young and inexperienced therapist Dr. McKay (Anna Kendrick).
Better known for his roles in popular comedy films like Superbad and Knocked Up, Rogen tones down his crass comic style just enough to suit the subject matter, while still retaining the level of humour needed to ensure that this film doesn't dive head first into the weepie section of Blockbuster. Gordon-Levitt's performance as the likable lead is restrained and realistic, and his calm and humorous approach to his condition is moving and quite inspirational at times.
When Hollywood tackles subject matter like terminal illness, comedy rarely plays a big part in the production. It's therefore refreshing to find a film that doesn't make a mockery of the disease, but manages to deal with it in a moving yet comical way. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, particularly when Kyle encourages Adam to use his condition to pick up women in a nightclub, resulting in some awkward and embarrassing encounters that leave you cringing and giggling in equal measure.
That isn't to say that the film is all fun and games. There were moments of true poignancy and sadness, which really resonated and brought more than a couple of tears to my eye. I think this contrast, the alternation between tears of laughter and of sadness are what make this film so watchable and enjoyable. It feels real, probably due in part to its basis in the writer's own real life experiences. It maintains the perfect balance of comedy and seriousness throughout, and presents a different and refreshing perspective to this taboo subject.
I'd thoroughly recommend this film, for fans of both comedy and drama. It's also a great bromance story, played brilliantly by the two leads. If you didn't think cancer could be
funny, this film proves that humour can be found in even the most serious situations. It's like they say: laughter is the best medicine.