The trailer for "50/50" makes it look insipid, but this comedy drama about a young man with cancer is actually a likable mix of humor and sadness written by a cancer survivor.
"50/50" feels honest and real and it benefits from a convincing performance by lead actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Gordon-Levitt is Adam, a 27 year old radio journalist who at first can't believe that he has a cancerous tumor growing on his spine.
His best friend, Kyle, played by Seth Rogen, really wants to help, but though he really cares about Adam, Kyle doesn't have a clue.
"What are your odds?" he asks.
"I looked it up and it said 50-50," Adam replies, "but that's like the internet, so..."
"That's not that bad," Kyle interrupts. "It's better than I thought. If you were a casino game, you'd have the best odds."
Kyle's idea of helping Adam is to suggest that he can attract women by telling them he has cancer, an idea that soon proves to be completely idiotic.
Though he's sick, lonely, and scared, Adam quickly discovers that he's the one who has comfort the people around him. His girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) just can't deal with the situation, and his overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston) is no help either. Right after he tells her that he has cancer, she announces her intention to move in with him.
The medical system sends him to a young doctoral student in psychology for counseling. And at first, Adam doesn't think the youthful Katherine (played by Anna Kendrick) will be able to help him either. But who else is there?
"Everybody's been saying: 'You'll feel better, and don't worry, and this is all fine," but it's not," he tells Katherine. She acknowledges how he feels but she tells him, "You can't change your situation. The only thing you can change is how you choose to deal with it."
"50/50" does an amazing job of balancing humor and pain. Of course, the film doesn't delve too deeply into the physical horrors of cancer, but it does show audiences at least a little of what people with cancer go through.
You may feel like doing some serious talking after seeing this touching comedy-drama, but "50/50" won't leave you feeling down. I strongly recommend it.