There’s a new movie in theaters called 50 50 about a young man, Adam, who is diagnosed with cancer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the lead actor.
I saw the trailer while at another movie, found it interesting–a mix of humor and seriousness—and proceeded to my next usual step, reading a synopsis. I learn that Adam sees a therapist post-diagnosis. Cool. And that she happens to be young and inexperienced in her career. Okaaay—tell me more. He falls for her. Yeah, that can happen, of course. It might be that she falls back for him. Aaarghh!!! Not another therapist-crossing-boundaries film!!!
I look up Roger Ebert‘s review. He’s had cancer himself. He hated The Bucket List, about two men dying of cancer, because it wasn’t realistic. I listened to him—I haven’t seen it.
And…ta da! Ebert likes it! But what’s he say about the therapist thing?
Anna Kendrick plays Katherine, Adam’s therapist, who gets just as involved as his oncologist is aloof. I know therapists are supposed to observe a certain distance, but in a case like this, I don’t see how one can. I would make a terrible therapist.
Okay, I won’t become a movie critic if you won’t become a shrink. But what about this over-involvement thing? I need to know more.
I turn next to Rex Reed. He and Ebert are the two movie critics I keep in my bookmarks.
Wow. Even snarkier than usual. He really does not like this movie:
When Adam undergoes his first chemo treatment, his duplicitous girlfriend (badly overacted by Bryce Dallas Howard) waits four hours in the car because she can’t stand the interiors of hospitals. His stressed-out mother (and what, you may well ask, is Anjelica Huston doing in this blunder?) acts like a cross between Lady Macbeth and Zasu Pitts. Eventually Adam gives up and falls for his psychiatrist (Anna Kendrick) in a sex game that is pure cardboard.
A what!? A ‘sex game’??? Oh crap—I had really wanted to like this movie. Ebert liked this movie. But more importantly, another bad depiction of a therapist?! Clearly something we don’t need in this world.
Women care about relationships—so I search for a female critic. I need one who’ll actually take the trouble to explain this 50/50 therapist/patient relationship to me.
So many many reviews I sift through. Over and over again, the therapist is “inexperienced”—really?! That’s all you’ve got?
I keep skimming. Finally, whoa…bingo! Carrie Rickey calls out the young shrink as “unprofessional”…But, just how unprofessional?
Are women critics just not into overly revealing a movie’s plot? More reviews….filter filter filter…skim skim skim…more reviews…
Blah blah “inexperience” blah “green therapist” blah “young” blah…Oh forget it. I like David Edelstein of New York Magazine—what’s he saying about the cancer patient and his shrink?
Willful perkiness has never seemed so poignant. You want him to survive so they can smooch.
In desperation, I decide to go closer to the source—the actress who actually portrays the therapist. I find an article by John P. Meyer, in which he notes that Anna Kendrick:
…is fine as the strangely serene, somewhat enigmatic psych doc who seems to surprise herself by incrementally, inevitably slipping into a non-professional relationship with her third-ever patient.
There goes the code of ethics.
So. That’s it, then. She breaks the code of ethics. Exactly how she does this, I don’t know, but she does…Wait—how do you know this, John P. Meyer? Who are you? What are your qualifications?
I research him. Find out he’s the “film guy.” One of his very favorite movies is Bambi Meets Godzilla, the remake. Last but not least, “In his spare time, John enjoys sleeping.”
Yes, sleeping. Sigh. Clearly my work isn’t done. Yawn. Well, I guess I could drag myself to the theater—find out for myself. Stretch. Or, stay home—find movie “spoilers” online. Or…or…
Gosh. What would John do right now?