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   THE UPSIDE OF ANGER (2005) 

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CAST
Joan Allen
Kevin Costner
Erika Christensen
Evan Rachel Wood
Keri Russell
Alicia Witt
Mike Binder
Tom Harper

DIRECTED BY
Mike Binder

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 118 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Romance


SYNOPSIS: Terry Wolfmeyer, a suburban wife and mother, has her life take an unusual turn when her husband unexpectedly leaves her. Struggling to deal with his sudden absence, Terry finds herself increasingly at odds with her four headstrong daughters and regularly drowning her anger in alcohol, until she develops an offbeat relationship with her next-door neighbor, Denny. Things get complicated as Terry's daughters grow accustomed to having Denny around while attempting to juggle not only their mother's romantic dilemmas, but their own as well.

BOTTOM LINE: Allen is scorchingly brilliant in this role and deserved far more accolades than she received. On the surface, the part seems to be nothing but rage and emptiness, but Allen is too good an actress to wallow in such a shallow pool. Terry's alcohol abuse masks her true disbelief at her husband's supposed betrayal of the life they built together and the daughters he callously left behind. It's not hard to buy into her pain or her reaction to her situation. However, as good as she is, it's Costner's goofy earnestness that keeps the film afloat. Denny is an unapologetic open book who's just trying to find a happy future. The relationship they eventually develop is sweet, honest and heartfelt. He refuses to be bullied by her and forces her to stop hiding and start living again.

The girls are fairly interchangable, but they each manage to make their own singular mark on the story as they try to deal with the emotional hole left by their father and the erratic behavior of their mother. I was not very satisfied with how the film solves its' main mystery – what happened to Daddy? The answer borders on the ridiculous and renders all their pain worthless and unneccessary, forcing the ending into an unsatifactory and unhappy conclusion. I guess that's life. It doesn't completely ruin the experience, but I still wished for a different outcome. In the end, UPSIDE is a multi-faceted, intense, poignant family drama with characters that you won't soon forget.




"When I'm with you Terry, with your girls, I feel there's still a big chunk of my life left to be played out."

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