Montreal Film Journal

2011 LOG (10)

(1 Oct) 50/50 (2011, Jonathan Levine) 90
[ Dear God, I don't even remember the last time I cried so much during a movie! And not just watery eyes, wiping a way a little tear - full-on sobbing, man. 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. ]

(1 Oct) The Object of My Affection (1998, Nicholas Hytner) 55
[ This rom-com with a twist, about the ambiguous relationship between a woman and her gay best friend, suffers from pacing issue, sitcom direction and a terrible, terrible score. Yet it manages to remain engaging enough thanks to the winning performances from Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd. Worth a rental. ]