Saturday, October 1, 2011


I saw the film, 50/50 this weekend. It was an emotionally draining experience to say the least. I'll get the easy stuff over with first and move on from there. There are a few minor spoilers here.

I loved this film. It felt incredibly authentic. Will Reiser did an incredible job of translating his experiences to the big screen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did such an amazing job portraying the character. He was genuine and I had no problem figuring out what he was thinking and feeling. Seth Rogan was hilarious as always, but really, his performance paled in comparison. A truly fantastic movie and I highly recommend it. I would totally go see this again and I absolutely am going to own it.

There was one pretty big thing I didn't like. I hated that he got together with his therapist. I don't know if I saw any movies that depicted a client hooking up with his/her therapist at the end of the movie, but if I did I never noticed until I started my social work program. Since then I've only seen two (this and Mr. Jones) but both times it has irked me a ton. It's INCREDIBLY unethical and can have some serious implications. I realize this was based on a true story, but I'm going to assume that this part of it didn't happen to Will Reiser cause it's just that outrageous. Yes, there's a whole transference/counter-transference thing that goes on in the client/therapist relationship, but it isn't always sexual and if it is, a good therapist would either check him/herself before it went too far or they would have referred the client to another therapist. I realize this doesn't make for a good movie, but there's got to be another love interest besides the therapist.

On a side note, although I have no plans to utilize any of the therapy skills I'm supposedly learning, I still know that she was a horrible therapist. That's another reason I think this part of the movie was fictional: only someone who didn't know much about therapists would write a therapist like this.

Now to the grit. Turns out Adam (the main character) has a type of sarcoma. It's one of the crappiest cancers you can get. I don't know how cancers work, if there are groupings or families or something, but there are different types of sarcomas and they are all really crazy nasty. My mom had a sarcoma. I was already wary about this movie because of that experience (surgery, chemo, radiation, and all the emotional baggage that comes with it), but when I found out his cancer was a sarcoma, my stomach lurched. I told my friend that was the type of cancer my mom had, and I braced for a worse ride that I had anticipated.

It was awful. Generally speaking, if I wasn't laughing, I was crying. Seriously, it felt like every 5 or 10 minutes. One moment was particularly intense. At one point Adam is alone in a car and has a bit of a breakdown. The whole movie we've seen very little blatant emotional reaction, and all of a sudden he's screaming and pounding on the steering wheel. I was sobbing at that point. I have felt that for my mom. I've been so overwhelmed that I had to pull the car over on the freeway to do what I could to get it out. The pure anger and despair is incomparable. I've never been close to dying and so I've never felt that on the level of someone who has been (obviously Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn't really in that situation either, but he did an amazing job of convincing you he was), but I've felt it on a smaller scale and to be reminded that anyone goes through that isn't fun.

I could go on, but some things are better left for a journal or a social worker. I'm a terrible therapist so I wouldn't attempt to psychoanalyze myself :)

Anyway, I highly recommend this movie. Yes, it did resonate especially with me, but it'll do that with just about anyone. Go see it.

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