Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm With Cancer

I'm With Cancer is the story of Adam Schwartz, a twenty-something who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Normally, I do not enjoy movies that deal solely with illness/death, but the casting (like Valentine's Day) is what grabbed my attention. James MacAvoy (he of Atonement) has signed on to play the lead Adam while Seth Rogen will play his sometimes insensitive best friend Seth.

Reading the synopsis, I thought "Huh, Seth Rogen is doing another Funny People?", and you would be forgiven for drawing comparisons between the two films, but I'm pleased to say that the two are very different. While Funny People deals with a a superstar comedian who has cancer and who consequently discovers he has beaten the illness, I'm With Cancer is essentially a story about a person diagnosed with cancer and the road he must take to recover.

ADAM SCHWARTZ is a young regular guy who works as a museum curator and lives with his girlfriend RACHEL. He discovers he has a rare form of cancer and must embark on a course of chemotherapy before the tumour turns metastitic. As part of his treatment, he begins to see a psychologist KATE whose role is to help ADAM cope with his disease. We soon meet Adam's parents, EDITH and ART. EDITH is your stereotypical Jewish mother while ART has had a stroke and pretty much lives in his own little world. We also meet SETH, ADAM's best friend, who is a crass pothead but also extremely loyal to ADAM. From here we witness Adam's journey through all the medication, therapy and his relationship problems with RACHEL.
RACHEL pledges loyalty to ADAM upon his diagnosis and promises to look after him during his hour of need, but soon she emerges as too selfish and too immature to deal with ADAM's illness, the main example of this being when she neglects to bring him to his appointments.

I won't give too much away, but I will tell you that this script is definitely worth a read. It deals with cancer in a totally realistic way and addresses both the physical and mental suffering of cancer patients. The film is somewhat of a comedy, but not so much that the writer Will Reiser (a cancer survivor) could be accused of making light of the subject. I often find films/programmes about illness/death to be a little melodramatic which in turn can detract from the genuine suffering of cancer patients/survivors. I'm With Cancer finds the perfect combination of comedy and drama, and approaches the subject in a very realistic way that I think will ring true with cancer survivors and those who have witnessed a loved one go through the disease.

Overall - A-

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