50/50 is one of those movies which can be called a dramady – a word invented to describe the mixture of comedy and drama and most apt in this particular case. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt was a pleasant surprise in on of the best movies 2009, 500 Days of Summer. As an actor Gordon-Leavitt makes some eclectic choices G.I. Joe, Elektra Luxx, Inception none of these movies share a common genre or even quality. With 50/50 Joseph Gordon-Leavitt takes another unusual turn this time as 27 year old Adam a writer for Seattle Public Radio who is a bit of a neat freak, health conscious and diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer caused by a genetic mutation.
The movie doesn't take long to get into the swing of things with the diagnosis which is also the only real failure in the movie. Physical health care professionals in general, but particularly doctors and nurses come off as cold, emotionally stunted and uncaring. Anyone who has been through the process of diagnosis, treatment and the host of other issues that surround cancer treatment will be singularly unimpressed by the portrayal of those in the medical field. The shining lights in Adam's cancer world are his pathologically self involved best friend Kyle (Seth Rogan) and Adam's therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick). Kyle is the comic relief in a movie which could have descended into the maudlin. Kyle sees all sorts of make-out, pickup and drug possibilities in his friends condition. Katherine is more supportive as a therapist should be.
Like any comedy about a serious subject the balance between the lighthearted and the serious is a fine line to walk. 50/50 is well written with sharply drawn main characters that make the most of the script and their screen time. In particular watch for the performances of Philip Baker Hall as Alan and Matt Frewer as Mitch who are Adam's chemo buddies. 50/50 is a definite must see it is neither as light as some of the trailers make it seem nor as dark as the subject matter would indicate.