Thing is, through most of the early parts of “50/50”, I thought it was good but not necessarily great. I took it to be, you know, your slightly better than average indie flick, with a smart and insightful but not exactly transcendently brilliant screenplay, and competent but not particularly inventive or impressive direction, nothing more, nothing less.
The one thing I found truly exceptional from the get-go was the acting, starting with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in one of his very best performances (that’s saying a lot) as a 27-year-old diagnosed with cancer. I also loved Seth Rogen, who’s hilarious and unexpectedly touching as the best friend, Anjelica Huston and Serge Houde as the parents, Anna Kendrick as the therapist, Philip Baker Hall and Matt Frewer as fellow chemo patients, Bryce Dallas Howard as the girlfriend…
These actors make all the characters ring true, so we grow to really care about them and, don’t get me wrong, writer Will Reiser and director Jonathan Levine both do solid work, keeping us engaged throughout.
Yet the third act takes things to a whole other level, which has something to do with the nature of the film’s subject and its progression, of course, but still! I had no idea the last act of this dramedy would move the hell out of me like that.