London Film Festival 2011: 50/50 (Jonathan Levine)

Inspired by Jonathan Levine’s own experience of cancer, 50/50 is a surprisingly humorous take on the most serious of subjects.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as 27-year-old radio show writer, Adam, who is diagnosed with spinal cancer and given a 50/50 chance of survival.

Helping him try to deal with the life change is his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen=comedy gold), his sometimes girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard), his neurotic mother (Anjelica Huston) and his new therapist, Katherine (Anna Kendrick).

The whole emotional arc is shown; shock, denial, resistance and finally acceptance. The film delves into dark places, starring death face-on but also managing to make fun of itself and turn the prospect of death into a life-affirming experience.

The film shows the importance of friendship and how life’s unexpected curveballs can strike anyone, and the best we can do is to laugh at ourselves-afterall, laughter is the best medicine! (apart from real medicine, obviously). Seth Rogen shines as his Superbad/Zack & Miri/Knocked Up character, making wise cracks ‘celebrities are always getting cancer!’and being a womaniser, but with a loveable underdog quality.

What I loved about this film was that Jonathan Levine saw a hole in the market and wrote a film about it. During his time with cancer, what he really wanted was to see a film that could put him at ease/ that he could feel some kind of solace with, but found that there weren’t any films that showed how he was feeling. He created something that will resonate with a lot of people.

My favourite quote from the movie probably came from J G-L ‘no one wants to f**k me, I look like Voldemort!’. In UK theatres November 25th.


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