Ben Oliver

Banner image for 50/50


That doesn’t make any sense though. I mean… I don’t smoke, I don’t drink… I recycle…
09 September 2015

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a young man diagnosed with cancer, given a 50/50 chance to live. Seth Rogen plays his best friend helping him through chemo, and Anna Kendrick is his naive therapist-cum-love-interest.

Generally this is the brand of indie nonsense that is hard to stomach, however surprisingly Levine manages to make it work. Cancer is never going to be a laugh-a-minute topic and to some extent he embraces this fact; nothing feels too forced.

Much of the success is owed to the funny and touching on screen relationship between Rogen and Gordon-Levitt. Most of it seems improvised but again Levine seems to know when to call it day; things never veer off into Apatow levels of self-indulgence.

There are some welcome supporting roles from Anjelica Huston and Philip Baker Hall who always bring something interesting to the table. Bryce Dallas-Howard also deserves a mention as Levitt’s original girlfriend who can’t take the pressure.

Will Reiser wrote the script based loosely on his own experience with cancer, and it shows. 50/50 rings true in a way so few films like this seem to.