Once you start thinking about it, it's quite amazing how few cancer related movies there are. Isn't it like 1 out 4 people gets cancer at a point during his life? In other words, everybody is effected by the disease now days, whether it is as a patient or as a relative- or close one. Everybody knows probably at least 1 person who had been diagnosed with cancer and chances are you lost a relative or loved one by the disease already. So with all the dramatic movies about the strangest diseases and conditions in the world; how come so few of them are about cancer? Sure, there are plenty of movies in which a character is suffering or dies from cancer but there are so few movies which chronicles entirely the life of a cancer patient, from the first diagnosis till his/hers death or cure.

It's almost like there is still a taboo on the subject, though a more plausible explanation would perhaps be that it's hard to come up with a gripping and original story, that doesn't become melodramatic or extremely predictable. And this movie does cleverly avoid all of the clich├ęs by not going for an all dramatic approach to its subject.

It's probably true that this movie is not emotional as heavy or effective as it could had been but that's OK. I prefer a honest movie above a melodramatic one anyway. And this movie does feel like a very honest and straightforward one. The movie shows it's not all crying and pain when you have cancer but there is also still room for laughter and plenty of other emotions.

And this is where the movie its greatest strength lies really. Yes, it's above all things still a drama but with a warm and comedic twist to it as well. The blend of drama and comedy might sound unusual, especially when considering its subject but it works out really well for the movie. It makes the movie feel incredibly sincere about its subject, without ever becoming a too heavy one, though at the same time you could still say its a bit of a tearjerker, which should mostly come from the fact that lots of moments in this movie should be recognizable, in one way or another, for some people.

What I also loved about the movie was how unpredictable it was. The story doesn't really progress in the way you would think. As a matter of fact, once you start thinking about it, the movie is hardly about the cancer itself really. The movie doesn't show or tell you all that much about the development or potential dangers and side-effects of the disease but its focusing way more on all of its characters and how they are coping with it all.

The approach this movie is taking is just great and refreshingly original. It's a really good job by director Jonathan Levine and writer Will Reiser. You can tell director Jonathan Levine has an history in short and independent film-making, which gives the movie the right required tone, approach, pacing and overall atmosphere, which all of the actors and their characters also truly benefit from.

The characters all truly feel like some really realistic ones. They are some everyday persons, being faced by something horrible, which they are all dealing with in their own way. The one is too worried and overprotective, the other just doesn't know how to handle it, while the other is using it to pick up some girls with. It's this diversity that makes this a very warm, honest, rich and colorful movie.

And I really wish I would have a friend like Seth Rogen's character, if I ever got diagnosed with cancer. His character is perhaps the biggest surprise of the movie. The biggest surprise because it actually works out! You would think his humor and antics would be out of place in this movie but it adds really a lot to it. Yes, Seth Rogen is great in this but so it the rest of the cast really! It might earn the movie some Oscar-nods perhaps.

One of this year's greats!


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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