When I initially heard about the upcoming drama, 50/50, I was instantly intrigued by everything that it represented. The story line looked like it was going to be solid, the cast looked to be superb and to top it all off – it looked like it was going to be hilarious. Some might find me cynical when I can use the word “hilarious” towards a cancer related issue but the trailer for 50/50 made it seem like we would see both “hilarious” and cancer colliding on the big screen. I mean how can it not be hilarious when you have Joseph Gordon-Levitt standing in front of Seth Rogen about to shave his head using Rogen’s “body” clippers. Regardless of how you take the trailer, hilarious or not, it still seemed to have the capability to grasp you and not let you go. Like I said, I was instantly intrigued with the movie on many different levels.
50/50 is the story of a genuine guy, Adam, who seems to have everything going for him. He is 27 years of age, works at a radio station and has a loving girlfriend. Adam is the type of guy who, while out jogging around the city, will stop at a crosswalk while it says do not cross while everyone else will just continue running right across the street. At the radio station he shows that he actually cares about the listener rather than just getting content out there, he puts his heart into the projects that he does. He has a splendid life going for him until he starts having persistent lower back pain. He eventually goes in to the doctor to get it checked on and at that split second when he receives the news from the x-rays, everything changes.
Adam finds out that he has been diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. Upon receiving the news, everything seems to start crumbling apart. The doctor sets him up with a therapist, Katherine, so he can talk to someone about all of the emotions and such that he has got to be feeling under these life changing circumstances. Katherine is a doctorate student who is getting experience for her dissertation. With the help of his mom, his best friend Kyle and his therapist, Katherine at the cancer center, you watch as Adam learns what and who the most important people are in his life.
50/50 has an excellent cast at its helm. You have Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam and Seth Rogen as Kyle, Adam’s best friend. Together, both of them hit this one out of the park. Levitt comes across as very genuine in his acting. He is capable of connecting with the audience as the man everyone can relate to. While being able to connect to him he expresses the feelings of a calm being as well as being able to isolate himself from others perfectly. Levitt’s performance is so authentic that you feel your heart breaking at times but at the same time you can feel so uplifted. He makes the story line come to life, he makes it real. Everyone always thinks that this type of stuff can’t happen to them until it finally does happen to them. He plays the character with pristine fashion. Personally I enjoyed Levitt more in 50/50 than I did with his character in his most recent movie, Inception.
Like I said, both Levitt and Rogen hit this one out of the park. I felt like Rogen was absolutely hilarious. He was Levitt’s counterpart. Without him the movie wouldn’t have had its comedy section. Understandably some might be sick and tired of Rogen as the weed smoking idiot who brings the comedic side to movies, however I am not one of those that are sick of him. He does exactly what the character is meant to do in the movie, be funny. When some things get so awkward it is better to laugh it off, that is exactly his role in 50/50. Adam’s therapist, Katherine, is played by Anna Kendrick. She is coming off her similar role that she played in Up in the Air. In both movies she did a wonderful job. However I did have a little issue with how she presented her character in this movie. It felt like it was a little too similar to her character in Up in the Air when she was delivering her dialogue. Eventually I got over this fact but it did still stick out in my head after everything was all said and done. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Levitt’s onscreen girlfriend and Anjelica Huston plays the over dramatic mother.
I guess the real question that stands right now is, what didn’t I like about this movie? Everything that it has going for itself was excellent. The story line is that of something everyone can connect with at some point. Even if it is as simple as going to the doctor and receiving bad news or going as far as actually receiving the news that you have cancer, it seems like it can touch everyone’s lives in one way or another. While watching this movie you will be visited by nearly every emotion imaginable. You literally feel for Levitt’s character as the news is broken to him. I liked how raw some of the emotions came across the screen as. There are the awkward parts when Adam is in the stages of denial and the raw emotions you see when he is angry sitting in a Jeep just having an angry tantrum. It all comes across the screen fantastically.
Another thing that actually took me by surprise was the tone of the movie. I went into 50/50 looking at it from the standpoint of it is going to be a comedy with drama and not necessarily a drama with comedy. The tone of the movie was a lot more serious than I originally expected.
Video: This transfer by Summit Entertainment was done just right. It’s one of those transfers that looks right no matter where what scene they are doing. 50/50 is sporting amazing details and balanced colors throughout. The skin tones throughout the entire film are splendid. The only issue that comes into affect through this transfer is that in certain places the blacks appear to be too dark and murky. Otherwise the textures and the palette never suffer. This 1080p transfer is one that sparkles.
Audio: 50/50 offers a DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The excellent audio quality presents wonderful clarity. No matter where they are in the film the crisp clear sounds are sure to impress. Whether they are in the radio studio or out and about in Seattle it remains clear. The dialogue throughout is just as impressive. It remains center focused and also comes in with pinpoint clarity.
50/50 comes with an assortment of special features. Check them out below!
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- The Story of 50/50
- Life Inspires Art
- Seek and Destroy
50/50 was easily my favorite movie of 2011. Overall I would have to highly recommend 50/50 to everyone. It was solid in all categories; the cast, plot and the acting. It has the ability to connect to everyone on some sort of level and others on a very deep level. Even if you don’t have cancer or cancer doesn’t run in the family, the story line still has plenty to teach you. It takes a very difficult topic to talk about (cancer) and makes it capable of being talked about. Make sure to check out 50/50 on Blu-ray where it was given an excellent video and audio transfer.
Movie – 10/10
Video – 8/10
Audio – 8/10
Special Features – 5/10