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Movie of the Day – 50/50

Posted on the 17 January 2012 by Plotdevice39 @PlotDevices

There must be some sort of rule in Hollywood that states that if a movie is about cancer, it’s got to be utterly depressing and a sob fest.  I understand that the subject matter they are dealing affects millions of people and can be a devastating time in one’s life, but is it all death and sadness?  Is it about just giving up hope and wallowing in your depression?  It’s a trivial thing for me to say this being that I don’t have cancer, but I can’t imagine life being over as soon as those words come out of the doctors mouth.  I am certain I will catch flack for this so I am well prepared for any backlash.  Movie are meant to be entertaining, that is the point of films, at least that is what I want them to be.  You can make a compelling movie without having to resort to tears and sadness from the get go.  You want me to feel sympathetic with a characters dilemma, then at least let me get to know the character.

50/50 was and still is one of the most underrated comedic drama’s that came out this year.  Sure some people might have been turned off by the premise as Funny People sort of covered it the previous year with the terminally ill character trying to lead a life in comedy while fighting the illness.  I personally found that to be both mature and effective in the themes that it was going for.  50/50 was a here and there film, meaning I got to see the movie in the 2 week time span that it was available at our multiple theaters and was absolutely stunned by how funny and touching a movie about having cancer can be.  It does what a lot of movies that deal with this subject matter miss a lot and that is the character aspect of the films.  Instead of following a character that is on the path to death right from the start and slowly watching that person wall himself up from society, 50/50 managed to make a compelling film that follows Levitt as a young person dealing with the in’s and out’s of coping with his new found odds on life.  He doesn’t become a wreck or push everyone away, but rather goes on with life and the notion that he’s got a shot at beating this.  He is young, optimistic, and has a full plan for his life.

The movie does an effective job at making us care for his character, not feel sorry mind you, but care enough to be like a friend to him.  One that goes through this rollercoaster of treatments and coping, while keeping a lighthearted approach to his circumstances.  It is, ,by far, one of the more moving and emotional movies this year.  You have to think about that statement since I just lambasted other films for going right to the emotional gut punch of a film.  By building this character up, his demeanor and outlook, and then slowly chipping away at it as it leads to the conclusion of the film is an effective way to get to the emotional core of his character and plight.

I was moved to tears as the final scenes of the film are truly effective at reminding that us that this is a movie about cancer, something that some people live and die from.  There are ultimately consequences with having to deal with it and no matter the amount of support and laughs and friendship you have, in the end it is just left up to you and fate.

Movie of the Day – 50/50

So below I have linked to the original review I wrote way back when and if you haven’t had a chance to see this film, it will be released next week on DVD and Blu-Ray.  Read it, watch it eventually and enjoy an honest film that has wonderful acting and an endearing story.

50/50 isn’t a downer though, as much as my previous paragraph makes it out to be.  The movie is a truly honest portrayal of cancer and how it effects not only the young, but those around us.  The best friend, the mother, the girlfriend and therapist all become a part of your life and share in your pain.  It doesn’t cheapen the emotional impact by playing up the fear of death, as it comes naturally through the interactions of all the actors.  You share in the experience with what is happening on screen and you find comfort in it.  continue reading here


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