50/50 (Movie)

Title — 50/50
Available on — Amazon Prime Video, Starz Apple TV Channel, Hoopla, The Roku Channel, Tubi TV
Production Country — United States
Release Date — 2011
An otherwise healthy twentysomething has a comically early midlife crisis when he gets slapped with a cancer diagnosis and a 50-50 chance of survival.

🪶 Story & Synopsis

Adam Lerner, portrayed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a young man who prides himself on taking good care of his health. However, his world is turned upside down when he receives the devastating news that he has malignant tumors along his spine. With a bleak 50/50 chance of survival, Adam embarks on a challenging journey filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Supported by a stellar cast including Anjelica Huston as his concerned mother and Seth Rogen as his loyal but somewhat tactless best friend, Kyle, Adam navigates the turbulent waters of cancer treatment with a mix of humor and resilience.

As Adam grapples with his diagnosis, he finds solace in the company of his therapist, Katherine, played by Anna Kendrick. Their relationship teeters on the edge of professionalism as they both struggle to cope with the emotional toll of Adam’s illness.

The film, loosely inspired by writer Will Reiser’s own battle with cancer, strikes a delicate balance between comedy and drama. Seth Rogen’s character, Kyle, adds a touch of levity to the heavy subject matter, offering comic relief in the face of adversity.

Throughout the movie, viewers are taken on a rollercoaster of emotions as Adam confronts his mortality and grapples with the uncertainty of his future. The poignant final line, “Okay, what now?” encapsulates Adam’s newfound perspective on life post-cancer, prompting reflection on what lies ahead.

With a blend of humor, heart, and authenticity, “50/50” delivers a touching and relatable portrayal of one man’s battle with cancer and the profound impact it has on his relationships and outlook on life. The film’s stellar performances, particularly by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, ensure that audiences both laugh and cry along with the characters, making it a truly unforgettable cinematic experience.

🧑 Cast & Crew

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston, Serge Houde, Andrew Airlie, Matt Frewer, Philip Baker Hall, Marie Avgeropoulos, Jessica Parker Kennedy

Actor Role
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Adam Lerner
Seth Rogen Kyle Hirons
Anna Kendrick Katherine McKay
Bryce Dallas Howard Rachael
Anjelica Huston Diane Lerner
Serge Houde Richard Lerner
Andrew Airlie Dr. Ross
Matt Frewer Mitch Barnett
Philip Baker Hall Alan Lombardo
Donna Yamamoto Dr. Walderson
Sugar Lyn Beard Susan
Yee Jee Tso Dr. Lee
Sarah Smyth Jenny
Peter Kelamis Phil
Jessica Parker Kennedy Jackie
Daniel Bacon Dr. Phillips
P. Lynn Johnson Bernie
Laura Bertram Claire
Matty Finochio Ted
Luisa D’Oliveira Agabelle Loogenburgen
Veena Sood Nurse Stewart
Marie Avgeropoulos Allison
Ryan W. Smith Joe
Lauren A. Miller Bodie

💬 Reviews and feedback

50/50 Movie Review: A Hilarious and Heartfelt Rollercoaster

Alright, gather ’round, folks! Imagine hearing a pitch in Hollywood: “Hey, what if we made a comedy about cancer?” Chances are you’d raise an eyebrow or two, right? Well, that’s exactly what Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 does. But don’t let the premise scare you off; this film is like a perfectly blended smoothie of emotions – light yet substantial, sweet but not cloying. Let’s dive into why 50/50 is an absolute must-watch.


The film follows Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a 27-year-old public radio editor who receives the shocking diagnosis of a rare type of cancer. Yep, just like that – life throws him a curveball when he’s least expecting it. His odds of survival are literally 50/50 – hence the title. What ensues is his journey through the stages of grief, treatment, and self-discovery with his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen), his overly caring mother (Anjelica Huston), and an inexperienced therapist (Anna Kendrick). The plot might sound heavy, but trust me, it’s handled with such finesse that you’ll find yourself both laughing and tearing up within minutes.

Themes and Tone:

50/50 masterfully walks the tightrope between humor and heartfelt moments. The theme revolves around friendship, resilience, and finding humor even in the darkest times. It’s refreshing how the movie avoids being overly sentimental or preachy; instead, it offers genuine moments of levity without undermining the gravity of Adam’s situation.

Acting and Characters:

If someone told me Joseph Gordon-Levitt could convey a whole spectrum of emotions with just his eyes alone before watching this movie, I might’ve been skeptical. But boy does he deliver! His portrayal of Adam is raw and real – you feel his fear, anger, hope, and despair as if they were your own.

  • Seth Rogen as Kyle provides much-needed comic relief but also showcases depth as a fiercely loyal friend trying to cope in his own way.
  • Anjelica Huston plays Adam’s overbearing yet loving mother to perfection; her scenes will make you want to call your mom immediately after watching.
  • Anna Kendrick as Katherine brings an awkward charm to her role as Adam’s therapist – their evolving relationship adds layers to the narrative.

Binge-watching Tip:

  • If you’re planning on watching this with friends or family who aren’t big fans of medical dramas or heavy subjects – fret not! The comedic elements should keep everyone engaged while still delivering an emotional punch.


Kudos to Jonathan Levine for navigating such tricky terrain with grace. He ensures that neither comedy nor drama overshadows the other; instead they complement each other beautifully. It’s clear that Levine understands that life itself is often absurdly funny even amidst hardship – something most filmmakers struggle to depict authentically.

Cinematography & Production Design:

The cinematography by Terry Stacey captures Seattle’s rainy melancholia perfectly while keeping intimate close-ups for those gut-wrenching emotional beats. The production design subtly reflects Adam’s changing mental state throughout his journey – from cluttered chaos post-diagnosis to more organized spaces symbolizing control regained over life.


The score by Michael Giacchino complements every scene without overpowering it; whether it’s light guitar strums during tender moments or more upbeat tracks during Kyle’s antics – each piece feels just right!

Pace & Editing:
The pacing here deserves special mention because despite tackling such heavy themes – there isn’t any room for dragging feet! Editor Zene Baker ensures smooth transitions between comedic sequences involving Kyle’s attempts at cheerleading antics followed closely by poignant moments shared between Adam & Katherine making sure audience stays hooked till end credits roll out!

Binge-watching Tip #2:
If possible – watch this film uninterrupted so you can fully appreciate its seamless blend between hilarity & heartbreak without any distractions taking away from experience!

Pace & Dialogues :
The dialogues penned down beautifully capture essence behind characters’ struggles while maintaining natural flow throughout runtime thanks largely due writers’ personal experiences reflected within screenplay itself making conversations feel genuine rather than scripted scenarios often seen elsewhere.

User Interaction Element :
Have You Watched Similar Movies Like “The Bucket List” Or “Me Earl And Dying Girl”? How Did They Compare Against This One? Let Us Know Your Thoughts Below!

In essence, Fifty-Fifty, manages striking balance portraying difficult subject matter through humorous lens making audiences laugh cry simultaneously leaving lasting impression long after viewing ends.

To wrap things up – if looking something refreshingly unique amidst plethora mainstream options available today look no further than Fifty-Fifty guaranteed offer unforgettable cinematic journey worth every minute spent watching!

So grab those tissues popcorn sit back enjoy ride rate solid ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(8/10)!

Pros Cons
An optimism that isn’t artificial Some may find the topic of mixing cancer and comedy sensitive
Light, affecting, and enjoyable experience Rated R for language, sexual content, and drug use
Gentle touch comedy Charmless and shallow for some viewers
Good-hearted film about a difficult topic Could be seen as smug by some critics
Well-executed acting and script May not appeal to all audiences


  • 50/50 (2011 film) - Wikipedia

    50/50is a 2011 American comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Levine, written by Will Reiser, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anjelica Huston. The film is loosely inspired by Reiser’s own experience with cancer, with Rogen’s character Kyle based on Rogen himself. It was filmed from February to March 2010.

  • 50/50 (2011) - IMDb

    How does a filmmaker combine humor and drama in a story about a 27 year old man diagnosed with cancer? Easy: Just give them equal measure with the title 50/50 — light treatment of a dark subject.Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has to deal not only with his own emotions when he is diagnosed, but also those of a close friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen), an inveterate partier and ribald quipper, and his chronically worrisome mother (Anjelica Huston). Losing his girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) along the way adds to the potential downbeat.Yet director Jonathan Levine and writer Will Reiser keep it all as upbeat as possible, not in small part due to Rogen’s constantly funny chatter, which comes at just the right times as the plot gets heavy with cancer surviving techniques (the film turns out to show the way to battle: with humor).Of course, Rogen has had training playing a similar role in Funny People with Adam Sandler. No one plays a weed-smoking buddy better than he. Gordon-Levitt is also an actor who can just about better than anyone else play the soulful, endearing, slow-moving romantic as he did in (500) Days. As a cancer victim, he engages the audience in observation of a vulnerable hero, who fights with a serenity and equanimity that could be a model for those wishing to survive and those who wish to help.50/50 is a comedy with compassion, a distant cousin to the prevalent bromances that rarely treat the support men give each other in times of real danger. Usually it’s vacuous women who supply that danger and significant support. Hooray for the men this time.

  • 50/50 movie review & film summary (2011) | Roger Ebert

    Now streaming on:Adam (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a writer for public radio in Seattle, which makes him almost a poster boy for someone who should grow old and wise. He has a nagging back pain. He ends up in the office of an oncologist, who tells him it is a rare form of cancer of the spine. “50/50” was written by Will Reiser, who himself was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. Seth Rogen, who plays Adam’s best friend, Kyle, is a close friend of Reiser in real life, and the movie is based on what happened in their friendship after the diagnosis.

⚠️ Explanation (Spoiler)

In the movie “50/50” (2011), the story revolves around Adam, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who discovers he has a rare form of cancer. Throughout the film, we witness Adam’s emotional journey as he navigates the challenges of his diagnosis with the support of his best friend Kyle (Seth Rogen) and therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick).

As the movie progresses, Adam faces the daunting reality of undergoing surgery to remove the tumor. Before the operation, he takes the opportunity to reconcile with his parents and express his feelings to Katherine, revealing his desire to date her. This moment signifies Adam’s growth and willingness to embrace life despite the uncertainties ahead.

Following the surgery, Adam successfully survives and embarks on a path to full recovery. The final scene captures a heartwarming moment between Adam and Katherine as they embark on a date together. As Katherine inquires about their future, Adam responds with a smile, leaving the audience with a sense of hope and optimism for what lies ahead in their budding relationship.

The movie delicately balances themes of friendship, love, and resilience in the face of adversity, offering viewers a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of life’s complexities when confronted with a life-threatening illness.

👪 Parents Guide & Age Rating


Age Rating: R

Parental Guide:

Sex & Nudity:

  • One brief sex scene (about 15 seconds) with thrusting. No nudity.
  • A man is having sex with a woman. It is very brief, but the woman’s breast is shown from the side.
  • A man takes a shower, but no nudity is shown.
  • Some mentions of sex using the f-word, and talk about sex positions.
  • A few crude jokes.

Violence & Gore:

  • A surgical wound is prominently seen and discussed.


  • Rated R for language throughout, sexual content and some drug use.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking:

  • Some drug use.

Frightening & Intense Scenes:

  • Not significant.

📺 Streaming and where to watch

streaming service extra information
Amazon Prime Video 50/50 is available on Amazon Prime Video to watch. Rentals include 30 days to start watching the video and 48 hours to finish once started.
Starz Apple TV Channel 50/50 can be watched on Starz Apple TV Channel.
Hoopla You can watch 50/50 on Hoopla.
The Roku Channel 50/50 is available for free with ads on The Roku Channel.
Tubi TV You can watch 50/50 on Tubi TV for free with ads.

❝ Quotes and Cult

  • Gordon-Levitt delivers some of the most memorable '50/50' movie quotes, but his friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen) does as well, injecting humor into a very, very tough situation.
  • Other great quotes come from Adam's mother, Diane (Anjelica Huston), and Adam's grad student therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick).
  • It takes a pair to beat the odds.
  • Adam: [after shaving his head] Why didn't we go to a barber? Kyle: That would have been a good idea -- if we had paid someone to do it. Adam: Instead of using your balls trimmer- Kyle: And I never wash them, ever. And it’s not my balls, it’s my a**hole....I’m joking... Adam: You're not joking. Kyle: Not at all.
  • Rachael: Adam - you have no idea how hard it’s been! I don’t know how to do this, and it’s been so stressful, and you’ve been so sick, and sh*t, you’re the one who told me Kyle keeps using your cancer to get girls! Why should I be the bad guy? Kyle: Because you're his girlfriend, you cheated on him, and he has f***ing cancer, you lunatic!
  • Adam: My mom is... I don't know. She's a crazy person. She just worries all day every day. And honestly, it annoys the sh*t out of me. It's way too much. And it's not helpful, and um, I can’t talk to her. I don't call her back. It's a problem. Katherine: So she's got this husband who can't talk to her, and this son who won't? Adam: Uh, yeah, I guess. Katherine: Makes you kind of a dick.
  • Adam: Aren’t you supposed to, like, subtly manipulate me into figuring this stuff out? Not just call me on my sh*t? Katherine: Yeah, you cleaned my car. So, uh, we are completely beyond that.
  • Adam: I want this to be over. I’m so f***ing tired of being sick...if this surgery doesn’t work, that’s it -- [crying] I’ve never been to f***ing Canada or told a girl I love her...it sounds stupid. Katherine: No. It doesn’t.
  • Adam: I’m sorry I was such an a**hole. Katherine: I was the a**hole. I was so totally unprepared - for you. This job is really hard. If I f*** up, I could ruin someone’s whole life.
  • Adam: I guess we’re both beginners at this. Katherine: [smiles] Yeah.
  • Adam: What were you doing when I called? Were you on Facebook? Katherine: You know... umm... stalking my ex-boyfriend actually isn't the only thing I do in my free time.
  • Adam: I wish you were my girlfriend. Katherine: Girlfriends can be nice. You just had a bad one. Adam: Yeah, but I bet you’d be a good one.
  • Adam Lerner: [to Katherine] I’m sorry, but, I’m going to have to call you on that. It’s bullshit. That’s what everyone has been saying. “You’ll get better” and “It’ll be fine”. I don’t know why everyone is so f***ing scared to say it. “You’re dying, dude”...It makes it worse.
  • Kyle Hirons: [to Adam] You’ll be fine. 50/50! If you were a casino game you’d have the best odds!
  • Kyle Hirons: [to Adam, the night before Adam's surgery] Driving! That’s what you want to do? That’s your “Make A Wish”? To drive? We could be having sex with hookers while skydiving, and instead you want to do something I learned to do when I was fifteen!

🤖50/50 Reddit Talks

50/50 is a 2011 American comedy-drama film directed by Jonathan Levine, written by Will Reiser, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anjelica Huston. The film is based on Reiser’s own experience with cancer.


The film follows Adam (Gordon-Levitt), a 27-year-old who is diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer. He is given a 50/50 chance of survival. Adam must undergo chemotherapy and radiation, and he struggles to cope with his diagnosis and the impact it has on his relationships with his girlfriend, friends, and family.


  • The impact of cancer on individuals and their relationships: The film explores the physical, emotional, and psychological toll that cancer can take on individuals and their loved ones. It shows how cancer can test relationships and force people to confront their own mortality.
  • The importance of humor and laughter: Despite its heavy subject matter, the film also finds humor in the face of adversity. Adam and his friends use humor to cope with their situation and to find moments of joy amidst the pain.
  • The power of friendship and support: Adam’s friends and family play a vital role in supporting him through his cancer journey. They provide him with love, laughter, and a sense of community.

Critical reception:

  • Positive reviews: The film received critical acclaim for its performances, writing, and direction. Critics praised Gordon-Levitt’s performance as Adam, calling it one of his best. They also praised the film’s balance of humor and drama, and its ability to find moments of hope and inspiration in a difficult subject matter.
  • Negative reviews: Some critics found the film to be too sentimental and manipulative. They argued that it relied too heavily on humor to deflect from the seriousness of Adam’s situation.

Audience reception:

  • Positive reviews: Audiences generally enjoyed the film, with many praising its performances, writing, and direction. Many viewers found the film to be both funny and heartwarming, and they appreciated its honest and realistic portrayal of cancer.
  • Negative reviews: Some viewers found the film to be too depressing and difficult to watch. They argued that it was too heavy on drama and not enough on humor.


  • 50/50 is a well-made and emotionally resonant film that explores the impact of cancer on individuals and their relationships. It is a film that will stay with you long after you watch it.

Top discussions

❓ Frequently Asked Questions

Is 50/50 based on a true story?

Yes, 50/50 is a 2011 American comedy-drama film that is loosely inspired by Will Reiser’s own experience with cancer.

What is the 50/50 movie about?

50/50 is a comedy centered on a 27-year-old man who learns of his cancer diagnosis and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. It is rated R for language, sexual content, and some drug use.

How does the 50/50 movie end?

The final line of the film is “Okay, what now?” This signifies that after surviving cancer, Adam must contemplate his next steps and what he will do with the rest of his life.

Is the movie 50/50 sad?

50/50 is a mix of comedy and drama that is both terribly funny and sad. Despite its portrayal of cancer, the film is beautifully acted, feel-good, and emotionally resonant.

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