|Directed by:||Jonathan Levine|
|Written by:||Will Reiser|
|Cast:||Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas-Howard, Angelica Huston|
Jonathan Levine made my favorite film of 2008 with The Wackness and 50/50 only shows more of what this guy's capable of. And choosing this project over The Sitter shows he's got great taste as well.
Cancer (or any terminal illness for that case) is an incredibly difficult thing to make a comedy about. Such lethal subjects require a delicate amount of respect to those that have endured this in real life and an optimistic enough perspective to keep the audience engaged. In my opinion Funny People did a great job of doing that last year, but 50/50 tells a much more grounded and realistic tale. Mostly in part due to the story being based on the real life story of Seth Rogen's best friend.
The film is equally accurate, painful, uplifting, and depressing. It doesn't have as many belly laughs as Funny People but its got a lot more heart to it. And while a lot of that has to do with the amazing script, a lot also has to be put on Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Between this and Hesher, I think this kid may be the best actor working today. Absolutely breathtaking stuff at hand.
And while Seth Rogen's one liners take up most of the supporting role time in the trailers; Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Angelica Huston make Rogen's character next to invisible. Especially Kendrick. She's nailed the vulnerable young professional role down perfectly and is absolutely adorable as she was in Scott Pilgrim and Up in the Air.
And while I started off raving about Levine, I think the direction may be one of the weak points of the film. It's obviously not supposed to be a rapid fire "Superbad" type comedy, but it still moves just a little too slow.
Overall, this is still probably my pick for film of the year up to this point. Nothing has resinated with me like this film has since Black Swan last year. A moving dark comedy about coming to terms with your inevitable end and making the most of it.