’50/50′ puts a new twist on a typical cancer film

Films centering around cancer and death usually produce more tears than they do laughs. However, “50/50” is not about the tears and the sentiment, it’s about finding humor during dark times.50/50 is an autobiographical story based on the experiences of Will Reiser, a producer on HBO’s Da Ali G Show and VH1′s Best Week Ever.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays 27-year-old radio broadcaster, Adam, who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  During his journey through chemotherapy, he drifts away from his best friend, Kyle (Seth Rogan), gets screwed over by his girlfriend, Rachael (Dallas Howard), and falls for his therapist, Katherine (Anna Kendrick).

Best known for his work on “How to make it in America”, Jonathon Levine uses William Reiser’s real life experiences to add a comedic twist to a typical cancer story.

After dealing with a persistent back pain, Adam decides to consult a doctor and much to his dismay, is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. Not knowing how to handle this news, he consults the experts at Web MD, who notify him that he has a 50 percent chance of surviving.

While Adam takes this news in stride, everyone around him ascends into panic mode. His best friend Kyle, tries to cope by using Adam’s cancer to get them both laid; his girlfriend Rachael, who can’t seem to truly invest herself in Adam’s new problems finds love in the arms of another man and his overprotective mother (Anjelica Huston), tries so hard to be there for her son that she ends up smothering him.

Each of them get so busy finding their own ways to cope with Adam’s problems that none of them give him the support he needs.

He finds some much needed support in his therapist, Katherine (Anna Kendrick). Things start a little shaky between the two but as he begins to accept the fact that he is indeed suffering from a life-threatening illness, the two become closer and end up becoming romantically involved.

William Reiser and Jonathan Levine took a story that focuses on heavy themes such as life and death and put a comedic spin on it without being insensitive about it.

Reiser has written his characters with both strong personalities and a certain vulnerability, which allows the cast to deliver performances with some depth.

Along with being creatively written and directed, the movie was also beautifully acted. The most surprising performance has to be Rogan’s portrayal of a supportive best friend. Although we still see the affable douche we all know and love, there’s this certain depth to his character that we’ve never seen from him before.

Gordon-Levitt delivers a remarkable performance, which is to be expected when looking at his break through role in 2009’s “500 Day’s of Summer”. He brings a certain emotion to his character that we don’t see from very many younger actors.

With an emotional storyline and several moments of comedic relief, “50/50” is no doubt one of the most well done and heart felt movies of the year.