Edge

’50/50′ beats odds

Photo courtesy www.daemonsmovies.com

“50/50,” the new cancer comedy based on screenwriter Will Reiser’s experience, isn’t trying to be funny. It isn’t trying to be sad. It sidesteps the opportunity to give into melodrama, and doesn’t create crazy situations in order to squeeze out a laugh from the audience.

It’s just a simple story that is extremely well-told. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a 27-year-old whose life is turned upside down when he is unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer in the form of malignant tumors up and down his spine. I know, there’s nothing even the slightest bit funny about this premise – in fact, I’m sure a lot of people will steer clear of this film because of the depressing subject matter. But what most people don’t realize is what an uplifting, real, honest, tough and hilarious movie it really is.

It proves that humor can be found in a subject completely devoid of any happiness. Adam’s best friend Kyle, played by Seth Rogen (who is Reiser’s best friend), doesn’t much change the character he usually plays just because of the delicate topic; he’s sex-crazed and foul-mouthed, but he also cares deeply about his friend and refuses to act differently around him because he’s sick.

But it’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance that makes the film the emotional rollercoaster that it is. Not once does he overact, and not a single moment feels forced or untrue. He’s relatable and likable yet he’s not afraid to show the bitter side of the character, a man who lives his life with a focus on safety (he doesn’t even have his driver’s license because of the amount of car-related deaths) only to still be stricken with a disease in which he has a 50 percent chance of survival. This is his career-defining performance, one that I hope won’t be overlooked during award season.

With a subject as sensitive and serious as cancer, it seems nearly impossible to create a film that’ll genuinely have you laughing one minute and then wiping tears away the next. Thankfully, the film beats the odds and emerges as one of the best movies of the year so far.

 

4/4 stars

October 2, 2011

Reporters

Lauren Cohen

Contributing Edge Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Part four of a five-part series on UM’s defense with the start of fall camp a month away: Cornerback ...

Part three of a five-part series with the Canes' view of every player on defense: Some insight ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

Political polarization, distrust in fact-based knowledge and verbal targeting may be fueling the ons ...

University of Miami head volleyball coach Jose "Keno" Gandara announced the additions of K ...

Three-time CSCAA Honorable Mention All-American diver Wally Layland and two-time ITA All-American te ...

Miami head women's tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews announced Thursday the signing of two more ...

University of Miami head football coach Mark Richt was among the 20 coaches selected to the preseaso ...

Miami opens the Wooden Legacy against La Salle on Thanksgiving Day in Fullerton, Calif. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.