Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Me as Film Critic

I am probably incapable of being objective.  I am too easily moved by (or attached to) things I read or watch or hear about, most books and movies included.  Know this before going all crazy over my movie review.  PS. Spoiler alert - I may give away some things that happen in the movie.  I promise to only mention parts that were fairly predictable in the first place.  If you want to watch it with fresh eyes and ears, come back and read this post afterwards - I'd love to discuss the film with you.

Went to see 50/50 tonight.  It was a free screening (aaawww, yeah!) slash date night for me and Dan.  Dinner in the car en route to the theater near UPenn, parking karma led us to a spot directly in front of the end of the line to get in.  Perfecto.  I held a spot in line (they fill up the theater and turn everyone else away), while Dan ate his dinner in the car.  A cute boy was in line behind me and gave me a smile, asking if I was in line to see 50/50 - he was just making sure he was in the right place.   Ok, maybe he wasn't trying to pick me up, per SE, but he was easy on the eyes, so let's say (for fun's sake) that he was.  Makes the story more interesting.

Went in, found an empty neck-stretcher seat 4 rows back from the screen, and got ready for a packed theater movie.  Luckily, it seemed that most of our fellow movie goers enjoyed a quiet space with no distractions during the screening, so while I braced myself for annoying college kids with no manners, I was pleasantly surprised to watch the whole movie with only 2 annoying call-outs.

I, on the other hand, was already crying by the opening credits, where the main character (Adam) is running by the river, blissfully unaware of the imminent insanity.  It continues to blow my mind how clueless I was before we started down this path; I immediately feel for someone experiencing it all for the first time, even if they are a slightly fictional character.  There were a few other moments - his diagnosis (the world around him goes totally fuzzy), when a chemo-buddy passes away and Adam is actually faced with death, or as he is scanned and consequently set to find out the results - that I felt like, "yeah, that's just what it looks like." Or, "see what I mean?  That really sucked."  But Seth Rogen was there for comic relief, and there is some romantic plot thrown in for those of us who hate to see an adorable (and wounded) guy feel so lonely.

It was the kind of film that got me to reflect on my own experience last year (and now) and I would watch it again, privately, for the chance to make even more connections.  I appreciated the fact that while Adam/Will was very different from me personality-wise, the stages of his emotional acceptance (if that's how one should coin it) were very similar to mine (we did not think about death right away - that came later).  The shock of the diagnosis lasted well into my third round of chemo.  What's more is that his experience was different enough from mine that I didn't have to see myself in every scene.  He insists on facing much of his ordeal on his own.  Lucky for me, that was never an issue. 

Clearly, I could go on for a while - and I'd love to discuss it with any fellow screeners - but I don't want to give too much away.  I do want you to see it.  The movie was honest and straightforward, while still retaining some Hollywood qualities. 

I would give it a two thumbs up.  I would be surprised if people did not react to this film, though.  Dan and I were discussing people's motives for going to see a movie like this (aside from it being a free screening).  Does the trailer make it seem like a cancer comedy?  Are there people who genuinely want to know what it's like to get cancer (and do they think that by watching this movie they will actually know)?  I'm curious (and I realize I'm putting this out there to a bunch of people reading a cancer blog) - are you interested?  Would you go to see this movie?  Why or why not?  (5 pts.)


PS.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is frickin adorable.  At the very least, looking at his dimples for a few hours is time well spent.


  1. I am interested in this movie but I am afraid I would cry the whole time thinking about my 3 friends who are battling cancer. I am a movie crier for sure! I think it would be good but I almost never get out to the movies now with a 3 year old and when I do I am more likely to see something stupid/funny/romantic than serious. Note I used to make fun of these kinds of movies and I only wanted to see serious movies. Glad you enjoyed it. Maybe I will see it now. xoxoxo

  2. I am looking forward to this movie coming to my local theatre soon. I've seen the trailers and read some of the reviews, I am curious to see how a "normal" actor/person can portray a cancer patient, should be interesting.
    Glad to see a lot of people enjoying this movie.
    Thanks for the review,
    Tim, xxx