Saturday 10 December 2011

Key Acting Performances In "50/50"

This is possibly the best work I've seen him do. He always annoys me, but in this, he's perfect -- extremely relatable and exactly like the friend you'd expect to be around in this situation. The 'break-up' scene is his masterpiece -- a brilliant moment of righteous, comedic, brilliance. He totally got this character right -- perfect casting, perfectly performed. 

I never liked her before. Couldn't see the fuss when I saw 'Up In The Air'. But here, she nailed it. It didn't feel like she was playing a character -- she just was the character. A nervous newbie therapist, struggling with herself and her unexpected feelings for a patient. Wow, she was so subtle and funny. It was a hard film for Joseph Gordon-Levitt, because he's the one with cancer, and his role was pretty bland and passive -- but it worked, it was what the story needed -- and it made Kendrick shine. 

He's 80 already. Wow. But then again, he has been around forever. You can't train someone to be like him -- he just has it. That thing. The presence. It's partly experience, but mostly; it's just who and what he is. You wanna talk to him, wanna hear his advice, wanna be on his good side. He lights up the scenes in "50/50". How often are there interesting roles for 80 year olds? Nearly never. He makes this small role both funny and profound. A complete joy to watch. A quiet master.

Both of these actors have done better work elsewhere. It was hard for Joseph because he was in a pretty helpless position, getting pulled around, put in machines, stuck in beds; that's cancer. That's what it does. 

But there's one scene between them, the Mother and Son, which is really touching. He's asking her how she's doing. It's the most simple of things -- but something he'd been neglecting to do because he was so caught up in his own thing and tired of his Mother trying to take care of him every single second. And she reveals that she's been going to a support group for parents whose kids have cancer. She struggles to get those words out of her mouth, and her vulnerability is so touching. For the entire film he's been pushing her away because she's too controlling, and at the end - we see, she's just like everyone else, struggling and in need of support. 

Care to share?


  1. I agree about Seth Rogen--he was great in this. Great movie. I was surprised by how funny it was, considering the subject matter.

  2. Up In The Air was crap and that chick was annoying in it. I usually like Seth Rogen and am definitely going to see this film.

  3. Nice review. I loved JGL in this movie, and thought that he perfectly reflected each of the different stages that his character was going through.

  4. This is one of the most beautiful, human films I've ever seen. I've lost two close friends to cancer, one in the last year.

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt's reactions to dealing with treatmant and the overall frustration with Seth Rogen trying to comfort his friend felt like flashbacks.

    If the Academy ignores this film, it's a shame, though I'm sure they will.