50/50 – A Comedy about Cancer?

  • Director – Jonathan Levine
  • Starring – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anjelica Huston
  • Writer – Will Resier
  • Year – 2011
  • Length –  100 mins

A comedy about cancer?  That can’t be right.   Surely cancer is about as serious as it gets.  The simple mention of the C-word normally fills people with dread; no one really knows how to react to it or what to say when they meet real life sufferers.  However the one thing that has been clear to date is that people know not to laugh at it.  That is until now.

50/50 is a semi-biographical comedy/drama penned by Will Resier, based on his own personal battle against cancer. It is the sort of script that you feel could only have been written by someone who has been there themselves and boy does it show.  In a film with subject matter as dark as this, delivering the right tone is essential.  Too dark and you lose the film, too light and you lose the audience sympathies.  It is with this in mind that Resier’s script is something of a masterpiece.  The tone is perfectly judged, delivering moments of genuine emotional turmoil, punctuated with relief bringing humour delivered via snappily written dialogue.  This is perfectly highlighted in the moments that Adam is told he has cancer – ‘I have cancer?  I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I exercise….I recycle….’. The whole tone of the film just feels real. You can imagine this is very close to how it was. (more…)