Box art for 50-50


comedy, drama

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen team up to beat the odds in a film that Rolling Stone calls "achingly hilarious and heartfelt."

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 17
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
4 out of 5
1 out of 5

Cancer patient questions his life in mature dramedy.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fact-based dramedy (co-star Seth Rogen's real-life friend, Will Reiser, wrote the movie based on his own experiences) tackles some pretty heavy themes -- particularly the idea of facing the specter of death before the age of 30 -- that could overwhelm young teens attracted by the film's stars: Rogen and (500) Days of Summer's Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Expect plenty of strong language (including "f--k," "s--t," and more) and some sexually charged talk and scenes (including partial female nudity), plus drug use (both medicinal and recreational).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how the film deals with the subject matter of chronic illness -- in this case, cancer. Is Adam's reaction believable? Does it seem at all exaggerated?
  • Did you notice any sexism or stereotypes in the movie? How do the women in this movie compare to those in other Seth Rogen movies? Is this movie more or less crude than Rogen's other films? Do you think that has something to do with the subject matter?
  • The movie is based on the writer's own experiences. How true to life do you think it actually is? Why do writers/filmmakers sometimes change facts when they're making movies?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all 50-50 reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: "50/50" takes the hackneyed convention of illness-driven melodrama and reinvigorates it with honesty, clear-eyed compassion and unsentimental wit.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, September 30, 2011

Fresh: 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.

- Bob Mondello, NPR, Friday, September 30, 2011

Fresh: 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.

- Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, Thursday, September 29, 2011

Audience Reviews

4 stars

'50/50'. The characters and emotions feel SO, SO real, and are wonderfully realised through fantastic writing and acting. I experienced and felt every high and low, and it's one of the best emotional roller-coasters of the year. I hate happy endings, but I was way too invested to hope for anything else with this. And Anna Kendrick? Wow, I have the biggest crush on her right now.

- c0up, Sunday, December 30, 2012

4 stars

Good movie, quite lighthearted considering it deals with cancer. Nothing new or thrilling, but enjoyable.

- romy861, Sunday, December 30, 2012

3 stars

For the most part, at least in its portrayal of how cancer is the 400 lb gorilla in the room, 50/50 does a very nice job of getting the sentiments right. Having recently lost my best friend via this route I can attest to most of what is portrayed here. There remains a lot of truth, especially in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's calm performance as Adam, a mid 20's man who is diagnosed with cancer. He reads that his particular type has a 50/50 survival rate, hence the film's title. The film follows Levitt as he goes through all of the "stages" of dealing with mortality, and what I found refreshing is that for the most part he looks at the situation head on - a kind of "it is what it is" fatalism where his veneer only cracks once. Cancer also affects all those around the victim - for in fact, in a manner of speaking, they are victims themselves... watching someone close to you slowly lose vitality is a bitch. Here we have the girlfriend who ultimately can't deal with the issue; the mother (in a nice cameo by Anjelica Huston) who Adam tries to keep out of the loop- worrying that she will just worry too much about it all; and the best friend who uses humor to keep the bad thoughts at bay. Seth Rogan plays best friend Kyle in his usual overboard fashion - but here his shtick mostly works, especially when he reveals bits of a more humane side underneath the bravado. For this topic a bit of humor is needed, and Rogan provides it, as well as a couple of older gents that Adam meets in chemo. There's a very nice segment where Adam gets stoned on medicinal macaroons and then walks down the hospital hallway, seeing degrees of what the future has in store for him. Nicely done! About my only real complaint with the film is the performance of Anna Kendrick as Adam's crises counselor. Part of that lies in the script that has her portraying a 24 year old counseling intern - but she goes way overboard in her ditsy portrayal; making the film's subsequent interaction between patient and "doctor" a bit too "ah gee", in spite of an adequate ending sequence. Try as they might to inject some serious tone to both their relationship as well as the psychology of "that cancer thing", Kendrick's self effacing, kind of bumbling portrayal torpedoes the attempt; which is unfortunate, as really, the film does have some important things to say about the big C and how we, as compassionate humans, choose to deal with it.

- paulsandberg, Tuesday, December 18, 2012