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MOVIE REVIEW: '50/50' pulls at Film Fans' hearts

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the film of the week: "50/50." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 stars out of 4

This movie deals with a very difficult subject matter. Many families are faced with the storyline presented here but the actors do a good job of mixing the emotional stress, mental anguish and the awkward situations that are inevitable while adding a dose of humor. Adam, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is 27, has a good job, a cute girlfriend and a zany friend Kyle, played by Seth Rogen. Then one day Adam comes face to face with perhaps everyone's worse fear: cancer.

He quickly shares the news with his loved ones and his life begins to evolve in uncharted territory. His situation strains even lifelong relationships as he deals with the medical end. His friend Kyle becomes his "go to" outlet and they together bumble through a host of weird antics and schemes. While dealing with the gravity of it all he meets a pretty psychologist who helps him to better deal with the hard perils of life. This movie will really resonate with many, which is very understandable, but the subject matter is too serious and limited to sustain the needed entertainment value.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn

3 and a half stars out of 4

Based on the true story of actor Seth Rogen's (Kyle) friend's battle with cancer, "50/50" is a gut-wrenching account of Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a 27-year-old man with the shocking diagnosis of a malignant tumor. "50/50" has you wrapped around its little finger from the onset to the last frame. Parents be warned: This movie is rated "R" for a reason. There is very rough language and graphic references throughout the movie.

Gordon-Levitt portrays the lead role with tenderness and a real depth of emotion. Rogen's character is what we've come to expect -- raunchy, rude and crude, but toward the end of the movie, there's a glimpse of possibly real acting potential. Anjelica Huston (Adam's mom) gives a fine performance that doesn't overpower the younger actors, while masterfully pulling at your heart-strings. Pretty Bryce Dallas-Howard (Rachael), the artistic girlfriend, gives her third solid performance this year. Most surprising was how wonderful Anna Kendrick (perky therapist Katherine) has developed in her acting.

No spoiler alert needed, the title gives it away. The story is about Adam, a health conscious young man who jogs regularly, doesn't smoke or drink, doesn't use drugs, doesn't even drink coffee, in spite of the healthy living, still develops cancer. Adam is sent reeling with the stunning news that he has a malignant spinal tumor with a 50-50 chance of survival. He begins a course of chemotherapy, relying on Rachael as his primary support, only to be confronted with more unexpected news, which packs a one-two punch, leaving him shaken to the core. This is when the real dynamic of true friendship between Adam and Kyle begins to emerge. I loved seeing Katherine's by-the-book therapy sessions evolve into guiding Adam to a place of acceptance and courage. I also enjoyed the kinship which developed among an odd bunch of guys during their grueling chemotherapy treatments.

My movie buddy and I laughed and cried throughout this movie. Overlooking the rough language, I recommend "50/50" as a must see movie.-- Myra Simons, Buford3 and a half stars out of 4

Cancer sucks. As do most of the movies about the disease but "50/50" is surprisingly funny and insightful. Based on the true story of screenwriter Will Reiser's battle with a rare form of spinal cancer, "50/50" does the impossible and skillfully blends humor, romance and personal struggle.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt portrays Reiser's character Adam with such heart, that you can't help but to find yourself fully vested in the outcome of his well-being. Even Seth Rogen, who is no stranger to playing the token stoner, impresses with his role as Adam's best friend Kyle.

"50/50" is a charming movie that is less about the "C" word and more about the relationships that evolve along the journey. It's a must see film that proves that there are times when things only stop hurting when you laugh.-- Lindsey Hodges, Snellville