“50/50” Debuts

Posted on November 1, 2011

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Entertainment | Dan Foster

There have been a large number of films this year that have been left in the dark. Meanwhile, big- name sequels have not only stolen the spotlight, but also the box office profits. Sometimes, it’s hard to hear about films that touch on very real subjects and issues, while big name movies about giant robots and boy wizards are always first on most peoples’ must-see lists. 50/50 is a simple film about a man struggling with a very real issue — cancer — and throughout the film, we see how he deals with it. It may not be the big summer blockbuster nor the epic finale that people sprang to see in theaters, but it is a film that you will remember. It takes a chance and gives a story to which everyone can relate, instead of a high-velocity action-packed plot.
As I said before, 50/50 is a story about a man who has been diagnosed with cancer and is given a 50/50 chance of surviving it. The story could have been either overly predictable or downright depressing, but the film finds the perfect balance of the two. This gives the viewer a cast of characters that will entertain and engage them. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the star of the show, and it seems as though he completely immersed himself in the character. He shaved his head, he lost weight, and he treated the material and facts with respect and pride. Rather than letting 50/50 be the comedy the trailers made it out to be, he gives the movie  depth and brings the viewer into his struggle, rather then having them laugh about what Seth Rogen says.
50/50’s strongest aspect is its performances, and although there are few big-name actors, each of the cast members makes their characters believable and emotional. I will say that no character had me as engaged as Levitt did, but the other actors did their part and didn’t disentangle the plot. Story is key, and although the film has its predictable moments, you feel as though it needed to happen, or else you would be put off by the depressing material. The movie is never downright depressing, nor is it too predictable; it is the perfect blend and will have you guessing what will happen next up until the credits role. The film was perfect in the sense that it will suck you in and not let you go until the end. It was funny, emotional, and, above all, believable, which is a tough thing to say about most films being released this year.
I walked into 50/50 thinking that it was going to be a long, boring story, but left repudiating those accusations. If you are tired of watching pirates take to the sea, robots decimate cities, and vampires sparkle, go out and see a film that will have you on the edge of your seat.  This will not be because of action, but a genuine concern for the characters and a true interest in the story progression. 50/50 is one of the best films this year, and hopefully Gordon-Levitt will win an award for his respectful performance. You owe  it to yourself to see this movie and appreciate good filmmaking.

4 out of 4
****

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Posted in: Entertainment