There seems to be a trend setting in Hollywood at the moment; that being films and television shows about uncomfortable subjects and putting a spin on them to make them almost dark comedies.
This came to me yesterday whilst reading a review of the new Joseph Gordon Levitt (Inception, Dark Knight Rises) flick 50/50, which centres around a young man who is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Obviously we can only assume from the reviews at this stage, as it’s not released until next week but the tragic story is given a different spin as his character accepts his condition and attempts to live his life to the full.
This is not looking to be ‘Stepmom’ or a ‘A Little Bit of Heaven’, but aims to give the whole subject matter a dark comedic spin with cancer jokes even added in. Is this a bold move? Quite possibly as cancer and other terminal illnesses will always be a touchy subject, but it is refreshing to see Director’s being bold and giving another side to the story. In fact it is Director Jonathan Levine’s own personal story which makes this all the more compelling, and certainly one to watch this winter.
We have also just finished the second run of the superb TV series The Big C, which tells the story of Cathy Jamison who has been told she has a terminal form of cancer; but from this revelation she really starts to live her life for the first time.
She decides to leave her husband (Oliver Platt) and tries all the things she was afraid to try before as her ‘role’ as a boring suburban house wife. The cast are definitely the strength of this show, with Laura Linney really shining as Cathy, and her co-stars providing more than adequate support for some very touchy as well as funny storylines.
We have her eccentric brother Sean, who lives on the streets and eats trash; her crazy neighbour Marlene, who is suffering a secret condition of her own and one of her students Andrea, whom Cathy befriends.
You couldn’t really ask for a more random bunch, but they blend together so well and have drawn praise from all circles.
The first series’ finale really has to be seen to be believed, as some of the comedic is stripped back and reality sets in, as it always will at some point with the subject matter. Luckily the second series carried on in a similiar vein as the first and the show will return in the new year for a third series.
If you haven’t managed to see the show yet, I cannot recommend it enough.