Sunday Couch Film Reviews: 50/50 (2011)

Every Sunday, I will be reviewing one film that was never shown in commercial theaters here in the Philippines. I start this week with a review of the film “50/50“.

50/50  tells the story of Adam (Joseph Gordon Levitt), a 27-year-old man whose simple life as a journalist takes a drastic turn after he learns that he has cancer. He goes through the different stages of grief with the help of his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard), best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and mother Diane (Anjelica Huston). He and his loved ones try to cope in starkly different ways. Kyle uses Adam’s cancer to flirt with and hook up with women, his mother worries about him and attends therapy sessions with other parents whose children have cancer, and Rachael cheats in order to get her mind off the emotional stress the disease has brought her (her cheating eventually leads to their breakup). During this period, Adam finds solace in befriending cancer patients Alan and Mitch (Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer) and opening up to his therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick). In the end, Adam survives and begins a new lease on life with his family, old and new friends, and new love.

What makes 50/50 remarkable is that it combines humor with real dramatic emotion, proving that life can still go on positively even with cancer. Kyle’s crazy ways of dealing with the disease shows that one must savor all the good things life has as much as one can, and the value of genuine friendship during such time. Katherine’s assistance, friendship and care also keep Adam grounded, especially as he experiences having different feelings, all strong and negative in nature. Kyle and Katherine’s presence provide great contrast to the relationship issues Adam encounters, first with Rachael and then with his mother. The film portrays a very realistic take on cancer, and is different from the exaggerated dramas that we usually see.

It is endearing to see how much sharing strength helps a loved one become even stronger.


5 – Brilliant, Opened My Eyes, Mind and Heart
4 – Wondrous, Kept My Eyes Glued
3 – Lukewarm, Made Me Look Away Sometimes
2 – Boring, Kept Me Distracted
1 – Horrible, Should’ve Never Seen It

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