Jonathon Levine / USA / 2011 / 100 mins
With the economic fiasco and seemingly everlasting foreign conflicts, it’s easy to let your thoughts stray towards gloom and cynicism. Jonathan Levine’s quirky new comedy shows us that even in the toughest of times, humour can be found in the darkest of places. When Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) discovers he has a 50/50 chance of dying from cancer, the naïve optimism of Kyle (Seth Rogen), quasi-therapy of Katherine (Anna Kendrick) and an imposing matriarchal mother (Anjelica Houston) are all he has to support him.
Somewhere between indie art-house movie and rom-com, long-gazing window shots accompany heart-wrenching overtures and the joyously goofy banter of the men’s long held friendship. The unpredictable nature of Adam’s disease is mirrored by the slow deterioration of his life; by giving the melancholic subject the gravity it deserves, Levine imposes the enormity of the illness on the audience but balances it against Will Reiser’s awkwardly witty script to counteract any feelings of discomfort. This unusual combination puts the tedium of living in perspective, slickly layering a sense of buoyancy over a general all-round feeling of concern. Released at the end of the year, the film provides a moralistic outlook that should be adopted in spite of the myriad of problems facing us, namely to not get overwhelmed by uncontrollable issues and enjoy what life we have.
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