50/50 (Levine, 2011)
A solid move that is nearly ruined by both a faux and an unnecessary relationship. First, let me say that Seth Rogen’s character (as his characters usually do) made me want to punch something. Annoyingly crude, a need to grab the attention in every situation, and a poor character arc pretty much doom this guy. The first two points are self-explanitory; the third comes from the fact that he uses his friend for his own benefits. Okay, fine, people sometimes do this. Then he’s called out on it. I liked that. But then we see a scene that’s supposed to indicate he cared the whole time – a cheap plot device to make us like this guy. I’m not buying it, and it cheapens their entire relationship. Additionally, this film didn’t need a failed love/new love storyline. How about just focusing on the people already in his life and how some will love you and some will break your heart?
With all that being said, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance and the relationship he has with his parents (and the initial relationship with his therapist) is outstanding. We see what I can envision to be a very realistic reaction to the situation full of self-reflection (both in poetic alone moments and in treatment of others), fear, anger, and desperation. He’s never over-the-top, isn’t a saintly unrelatable protagonist, and understands his flaws with intentions of addressing them. I know my complaints seem to outweigh my compliments, but truthfully the good rises above the bad, and this pulls at your heart strings in a mostly uninsulting way. 7.25/10