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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Drama Comedy
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 30, 2011 (wide—2,400+ theaters)
DVD: January 24, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment

SPINAL CANCER—Where did CANCER come from? Answer

What and who are the most important things?

TRUE LOVE—What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Pain and suffering

How did bad things come about? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer


Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer


Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Joseph Gordon-LevittAdam
Seth RogenKyle
Anna KendrickKatherine
Bryce Dallas HowardRachael
Anjelica HustonDiane
more »
Director: Jonathan Levine
Producer: Mandate Pictures
Point Gray
more »
Distributor: Summit Entertainment

“It takes a pair to beat the odds.”

DVD cover, 50/50.Adam is a normal guy with a normal job. He does not smoke. He does not drink. He has never done drugs. In fact, because of the danger, Adam has never even driven a car nor does he own a driver’s license. Considering all of this information about Adam, how is it fair or possible that he has a malignant, cancerous tumor on his spine? Fair or not, this is the situation Adam finds himself in at the beginning of “50/50”, an excellent film that takes the subject of cancer and views it through a lens that is rarely seen on the big screen: reality.

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

Adam has always lived his life managing risk, but it no longer seems to matter. He is now forced to face his probable death and only has one friend, Kyle, to turn to. Adam’s relationship with his girlfriend is rocky, and his mother is taking care of his father who has Alzheimer’s disease. In the midst of all of this and with the help of a therapist, Adam begins to come to grips with his situation.

Usually, when films depict cancer, it is in one of two ways. It is either a completely solemn and desolate affair, or it is filled with unrealistic emotions. While cancer can be desolate and emotional, it is always a very real part of life. “50/50” is written by Will Reiser, and it is based on Reiser’s actual experiences from when he was diagnosed with cancer. Because of this, the film handles the topic of cancer deftly, and it brings out every emotion in the viewer. The film has some truly funny moments, as well as some touching ones, all of which ring true to real life.

“50/50” is successful because of its willingness to be open about its subject matter, and also because of its excellent cast. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the role of Adam, and his performance carries the film. Levitt makes you feel his pain, without being over dramatic or insincere. His best friend, Kyle, is played by Seth Rogen. Rogen is a talented writer and has excellent improvisational skills, but he is limited as an actor. He does the best work of his career in “50/50”.

There are so many positive aspects of “50/50”. During the film, Adam learns about true friendship, honoring his parents, the importance of a life well lived, and true love. These messages are ones that you do not often see on the big screen, much less in R-rated films.

CANCER—Where did cancer come from? Answer

What kind of world would you create? Answer

Unfortunately, the film is, in fact, rated “R” and rightly so. There are over 100 profanities in “50/50”, as well as graphic sexual dialogue and one brief sex scene. After his diagnosis, Adam partakes multiple times in “medical marijuana”. These content issues are extreme, and while some of the issues are a realistic in their portrayal, the content is excessive and makes this movie not for kids and only for discerning adults.

“50/50” is one of the best films I have seen all year. It is unfortunate that the content of the film is gratuitous, because the story is excellent and the acting on display is top notch. “50/50” is billed as a “cancer comedy”, but that billing could not be further from the truth. While the film is funny, it is also poignant and effective. “50/50” is one of the biggest surprises of the early movie season.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This was a fantastic film. While I am usually offended by language like Seth Rogen uses in the film, I think the fact that he was the only character who spoke that way that was okay; it was used to define him. His love for his friend and total anger toward the shallow, selfish girlfriend was shown with his language. I have been to places where people get chemo treatment, and I think the film’s depiction of that type of place was well-done. I loved the Anna Kendrick character—she really was funny, it was a unique character—a totally inexperienced therapist, but yet she nailed him when she got him to realize how difficult his mother’s life was (dealing with her husband’s Alzheimer’s). I think Joseph Gorden Levitt is an excellent actor who is making great decisions with his film choices.

I have mixed feelings about profanity in film… I think the dialog in this film seemed to ring true and didn’t feel like they went out of their way to put in bad language. The part with them getting high didn’t bother me, because in my state medical marijuana now is legal, so people are using it. From first hand knowledge, chemo makes you unbelievably nauseated; if marijuana helps these people, I’m in favor of it.

The way Anjelica Houston acted when she heard the news that her son had cancer really rang true. The scene when J.G. Levitt totally had a meltdown in the car was amazing—so realistic in showing his total despair. This film isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s the best film I’ve seen in awhile. As a Christian, when I see a film like this, I realize how totally lost these people are without a relationship in God—they can’t pray for each other, they don’t have peace.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Andrea, age 56 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive— Inspired by a true story, “50/50” is the story of a young man, Adam (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who finds out that he has a very rare kind of spinal cancer and his chances of living are 50/50. I was shocked at how much I loved this movie. How the script manages to keep a smooth tone while combining humor and drama with such balance and respect is extremely impressive.

The cast, which includes: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, and Anna Kendrick all give STUNNING performances. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has really put the standard high with this Oscar deserving accomplishment. “50/50” is realistic, funny, sweet, charming, genuine, original, fresh, and uplifting. Director, Jonathan Levine, has done something most filmmakers would never dare to do, and he has done it well in this satisfying dramedy. It’s a story about survival, friendship, loyalty, and life that will leave you crying tears of sadness and tears of laughter.

Being by far the best movie of 2011, I will reward “50/50” with 5/5 stars, but I would never recommend it to a Christian, due to all of the language and overuse of sexual innuendos.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Aliya Mcreynolds, age 15 (USA)

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