Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

50/50 is Fifty-Fifty

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on October 10, 2011

 ’50/50′ is a male-bonding love story, a “Mick-flick, chick-flick” if you will,; a movie that girls like to see about platonic male friendship. Seth Rogan’s character, Kyle,  is crude, obnoxious, self-centered and immature, but at the same time he loves Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Adam goes through medically challenging times. His mother is problematic, as is his girlfriend-no coincidence there. He goes to a psychotherapist, like all movie portrayals of my professions, the boundaries are thrown wide open, all in the midst of Adam’s defensive posture. Kyle sticks by him in a way which is both protective and friendly. Sometimes I felt that this movie was yet another vehicle for Seth Rogen to be Seth Rogen: good at what he does, but he only does one thing. Other times, I was annoyed that the key role of a psychotherapist in times of medical crisis was reduced to a not very believable love-story. Yet, on the whole, I found the movie touchingly sad and funny at the same time. The horror of a young person dealing with a life-threatening illness is so rare, and so terrifying, that most people react in ways which are markedly insensitive and confused. It is so hard to be sensitive to a situation which one hardly has to think about, never-mind be intimately involved with. The rarity of the situation gives the victim more reason to feel isolated, layering over the grief of the diagnosis with the grief of losing relationships that used to be dear. Despite the sadness of that, the movie left me feeling pretty good. It was so refreshing, although again, predictable, to see two guys muddle through catastrophe together. The sweetness of love and care took over from the tragedy of life’s lightning bolts. I am glad I saw it; it made for a pleasant evening.

2 Responses to “50/50 is Fifty-Fifty”

  1. Jon said

    While it is true that 50/50 is a male-bonding platonic love story, it is also much more than that. The film is also about the relationships, both platonic and erotic, that give both meaning to life and as well as make it possible to bare its pains. Relationships are strengthened, broken, and created in this film because of the crisis of an unexpected, potentially critical, condition. While the role of the psychotherapist is important, I will argue that it was not the only key relationship, nor was it reduced to solely a love story. There are many who come together to deal with Adam’s situation and the therapist has her own growth issues with which to deal. That said, I reiterate your final statement, for me as well, “I am glad I saw it; it made for a pleasant evening.”

    • Yes, I agree that the film aptly illustrates how crisis reconfigures existing relationships, and provides opportunities for new and deeper relationships. This is another reason why this is a ‘mick-flik, chick-flick,’ for which you as a ‘mick’ are gender-bending to enjoy. Thanks for your comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: