Seth Rogen and screenwriter Will Reiser lived the experience that is portrayed onscreen in 50/50. The movie is a symphony of sensational storytelling coupled with pitch perfect highs and lows that should accompany the story of a young man who learned he has cancer and a 50/50 chance to survive.
Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are Kyle and Adam, best friends forever. In 50/50, both work at a public radio station in Seattle. Adam has a girlfriend (Bryce Dallas Howard) and he has just cleared a drawer for her at his house. His life is on cruise control zooming towards success on all fronts. Walking into his doctor’s office to find out the cause of his odd back pain, Adam is blindsided by a reality no twenty-something ever expects: He has life threatening spinal cancer.
In reality, Rogen and Reiser (Check out our Will Reiser interview) were friends working as writers on Da Ali G Show. Although the situations and the locale may be different, the healing power of the institution of friendship for Rogen and Reiser as embodied by Adam and Kyle in 50/50 is inspiring.
Levitt and Rogen combine to bring audiences an astounding character study. Knowing that much of what is seen onscreen was lived by a pair of friends faced with life’s ultimate challenge is moving beyond compare.
Director Jonathan Levine has woven a web of astounding emotional authority. Combining both the hysterical and heartbreaking, Levine’s 50/50 is a revelation. The journey that both the characters embark on and the audience revels in is priceless. From the film’s soundtrack to how it was shot only contributes to the command 50/50 has over its audience.
The movie’s supporting cast, perhaps feeling the high bar set by the screenwriter, filmmakers and leads, excels. Anjelica Huston was born to play Adam’s mother. Howard finds another role against type after The Help to prove she’s so much more than a support system for a movie’s major character. Howard can be downright evil and deliciously so. And finally, Anna Kendrick emits a control over her character unlike she has achieved thus far in her brilliant career. Equally out of her element as Adam's counselor as she is drawn to do what she can to improve his life, Kendrick proves her Academy Award nomination for Up in the Air was simply the beginning to her acting excellence.
50/50 is easily one of Movie Fanatic’s favorite movies of the year. Whether it lands among the list of Best Picture nominees come Oscar time is up to voters. But let’s make one thing clear: If 50/50 is not among the honorees for 2011, voters need to hang up their credentials.
Movie Fanatic saw the film weeks ago and the fact that its resonance has only increased speaks volumes as to the brilliance that is the 50/50 experience. Prepare to be moved, drawn in and never the same after its credits roll.
And if you haven't seen the 50/50 trailer, don't miss it.