50/50 (4 stars)


Comedy about cancer one of the funniest and most human films of the year

(15) 100min

Not since Roberto Benigni won Oscars for Life is Beautiful – a holocaust movie played for laughs – has there been a comedy with such a seemingly poor premise that scores so high on the laughter scale. 50/50 is a comedy about cancer. Get over that fact and discover one of the funniest and most human films of the year.

The film is inspired by a true story: scriptwriter Will Eisner was himself diagnosed with a spinal tumour, and in the film, his real life best mate Seth Rogen stars as the funny loveable best friend. Eisner is represented on-screen as Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a charming rogue who runs the gamut of emotions from happiness to despair. In his darkest days he discovers that his girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) is playing away, his mother (a pitch perfect Anjelica Huston) wants to smother him and his dad has dementia. Luckily Adam has a trainee therapist with which to pour out all his emotions in the shape of Anna Kendrick’s Katherine. Whereas most movies about illness are morbid affairs, The Wackness director Jonathan Levine manages to treat cancer with the respect it deserves whilst also showing the remarkable ability of humans to find laughter in the most heinous of circumstances.

General release from Fri 25 Nov.

50/50 Trailer


  • 4 stars
  • 2011
  • US
  • 1h 39min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jonathan Levine
  • Written by: Will Reiser
  • Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston
  • UK release: 25 November 2011

Adam (Gordon-Levitt) is diagnosed with a spinal tumour but finds he can pour out his emotions to trainee therapist Katherine (Kendrick). The Wackness director Levine treats cancer with respect but also manages to make one of the funniest and most human films of the year.

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