50/50 2011

Critics score:
94 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Odds are you'll find something of substance, a few life lessons in between the laughs in "50/50." Read more

Kathleen Murphy, MSN Movies: ...delivers some hard-core truths as well as therapeutic humor while treating more than one kind of death. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: Neither the actor nor the filmmakers can get under Adam's skin, despite all the close-ups and the moodily shot scenes filled with the kind of movie silence that feels more like the groping of an uncertain screenwriter than of a man facing his mortality. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: Builds to the confidently sincere movie you hoped it would be, after dithering around in tired cutesiness. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: What a tightrope this movie is. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: I admire the audacity of the script, which was written by Will Reiser from personal experience, and I laughed in most of the right places, as people in Adam's life struggle, often absurdly, to say or do the right thing. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: 50/50 nimbly draws humor out of a young man's illness, walks a tightrope of tragicomedy and touches on all the right points. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: "50/50" deftly blends tragedy with comedy - in a way that feels, often effortlessly, like real life. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: A funny, thoughtful film, less about surviving cancer than about the agonizing process of growing up. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: "50/50" is a tremendous movie. It's also a really funny one, which doesn't mean it won't make you cry. Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Levine has accomplished a tricky bit of juggling here: He's made a film about cancer that's effortlessly affecting. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Too pat and contrived to be the Oscar bell-ringer early reports have claimed, "50/50'' is most affecting when it shows callow young dudes struggling to come to terms with the ultimate party crasher. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: The fear, anger, and despair of terminal illness barely pierce the movie's easygoing vibe, which becomes something of a problem in the second half, but for the most part this is fresh, sincere, and inquisitive. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: A picture with a commercial sensibility and a quippy streak, yet one honest enough to transcend the usual. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Gordon-Levitt is an agreeably undemonstrative actor who plays well opposite the burbly Rogen. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Emotionally honest even when it's going for big laughs and filled with lived-in visual detail, it's raunchy and touching without ever being crude or mawkish, a small, sharp comic jewel with a big heart. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Still, it's Gordon-Levitt's choices that continue to impress. Sure, he owned one of the most jaw-dropping sequences in last summer's blockbuster Inception. But the actor remains drawn to profoundly human-scale hurts and quiet triumphs. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Chances are about 90/10 that you'll enjoy 50/50. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: It's the Rogen-Goldberg touch, with the duo's characteristic Superbad mash of the sweet and the bracingly coarse, that sells this unusual downer/upper of a life-and-death comedy. Read more

William Goss, Film.com: There's a vital difference between, say, the trumped-up day-seizing of The Bucket List and this, a funny, moving, well-grounded take on a potentially traumatic experience. Read more

Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter: Reiser has written his characters with an indelible sweetness and vulnerability, which allows the cast to deliver performances with some depth. Read more

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald: 50/50 is crude and funny, and it demands that you laugh. And you will. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: A small winner; the director, Jonathan Levine ("The Wackness"), has a great touch, mordant but light-handed. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: The truly outrageous idea, that you can use being gravely ill to get sympathy hookups for yourself and your friends - as underlined in the movie's original, better title, "I'm With Cancer" - is given short shrift. Read more

Bob Mondello, NPR: In other hands, Adam might well be hard to take. But as the comedy in 50/50 turns darker, Gordon-Levitt, who's maybe the most natural, least affected actor of his generation, makes prickly plenty engaging. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: This nervy film avoids being blatantly "life-affirming" or "feel-good," helping it earn its tears and laughs. The premise covers the first of those. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen merge it with the second. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: It succeeds mostly thanks to stellar work by the wonderful Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who capably handles the dramatic heavy lifting, and Seth Rogen, who delivers big laughs as his raunchy bud. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: My reaction to everything that happens in 50/50 was "Why don't they just walk out?" But nobody did, so I did it for them. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Levitt, the definition of nuance, is touching, funny, and fierce - an unusual combination of moods, but deeply affecting. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Too much humor and we lose the characters. Too little humor and it becomes a Lifetime Movie. Balance is the key and, for the most part, Levine finds it. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com: "50/50" is a low-key, authentic, warm-hearted film; the cast is one of the best of the year. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Although "50/50" is structured with the efficiency of a sitcom, there's an undercurrent of truth and real feeling. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Refusing to hide from pain or bow to it, 50/50 makes its own rules. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen are a dream team. Read more

Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon.com: What ensues is "Beaches" meets "Pineapple Express." Which, I've got to tell you, is pretty much what living with cancer is like. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: "50/50" will be liked and appreciated even by people who can't imagine wanting to see it. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Scene by scene, 50/50 can be both amusing and moving, with the tightly wound Gordon-Levitt and the boundaryless Rogen forming an oddly complementary pair. But as a whole the movie never quite coheres. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Director Jonathan Levine has the ideal approach to the material, which is to stand aside, frame each scene honestly and let the actors drive the story. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: It wrings comedy from cancer and surrounds its saintly protagonist with sickly stereotypes. But the closer it gets to the mortal abyss, the more it feels real and revealing. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: Even hardened cynics will embrace the cliche -- yep, you will laugh, you will cry. Read more

Leah Rozen, TheWrap: Add 50/50 to your want to see list. And then make an appointment for your annual physical with your doctor. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: To the extent that 50/50 works, it because of Gordon-Levitt, one of my favorite actors. Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: 50/50 is about right. Read more

Linda Barnard, Toronto Star: An everyman tale with plenty of heart and honesty, the serious subject matter is regularly enlivened with jolts of genuine hilarity, some of it in delightfully questionable taste. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: Will Reiser's semiautobiographical script initially prescribes too artificial a story treatment for its characters but is rescued by a genial, low-key vibe that builds in sensitivity and emotion up through the final reels. Read more

Dan Kois, Village Voice: 50/50 mostly succeeds as a movie about a young man fighting cancer that doesn't give in to sap or sentiment. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: "50/50" takes the hackneyed convention of illness-driven melodrama and reinvigorates it with honesty, clear-eyed compassion and unsentimental wit. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: As a comedy about a young man with cancer, it needs to be serious enough to be real as well as light enough to be funny. Though it falls off the wagon at times, it maintains its balance remarkably well. Read more