[Last Film I Saw] 50/50 (2011)

50 50 poster

Title: 50/50
Year: 2011
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Will Reiser
Music: Michael Giacchino
Cinematography: Terry Stacey
Cast:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Seth Rogen
Anna Kendrick
Bryce Dallas Howard
Anjelica Huston
Philip Baker Hall
Serge Houde
Andrew Airlie
Matt Frewer
Donna Yamamoto
Jessica Parker Kennedy
Peter Kelamis
Laura Bertram
Marie Avgeropoulos
Rating: 7.5/10

A dramedy about cancer is a proper hard-sell in the market, this wee budget film (although JGL and Seth Rogan are quite bankable names among their peers) has done a quite solid battle in the box-office last year (domestic total gross is $35 million against its $8 million budget), due to its very heartfelt closeness and touchingness of its concoction of the three-faceted narrative (love, friendship and family) revolving around our young protagonist who has been through an ordeal of a very rare spine cancer.

Adopted from a true event of the screenwriter Will Reiser (who is a close friend of Rogen and takes on an ephemeral cameo too), the film has a rare pluck and daintiness in reciting the story from a very earthly perspective, no flamboyant hyperbole, the plot goes through a carefully measured but innately captivating melodrama (although the big question of the survival of the operation had never been doubted, the bare truth is the screenwriter himself is still alive!), it could be reckoned as a sequel of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER (2009), JGL continues to generate his congenial drawing power through the rough road of a young man’s battle with the malignant tumour, most of the time, he exercises a pleasingly lifelike mechanism to embody himself to his character without showing off the edginess and dominance which could be easily sensed. Seth Rogen mainly serves as a crude but kind-hearted friend (still too coarse with his sex-oriented jokes). Anna Kendrick is another mainstay of the film, utterly adorable and convincing as the rookie shrink, slightly uptight but accurately vivid (she is among my top 5 list of best supporting actress and JGL is inside my top 10 list of best leading actor). Ms. Howard again (after THE HELP, 2011) finds herself in a very dislikable role, hope her career path will not be pigeonholed into the “bitch” category; Anjelica Huston, this time is quite far from her usual majesty, instead renders her prowess to manage a less glamorous presentation of a nagging but loving mother.

Director Jonathan Levine’s next film is the new TWILIGHT wannabe WARM BODIES (2013), one should feel confident that at least it will catch up with the closeness and touchingness in spite of over-exploiting the (vampire) zombie-cum-romance territory.

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