The Upside Of Anger [DVD]
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Family comedy-drama starring Joan Allen as Terry Wolfmeyer, an affluent and sharp-witted suburban Detroit wife and mother who goes from a paragon of sweetness to a volcano of rage in the wake of her husband's desertion; he has apparently jetted off to Sweden with his Swedish secretary. Barely holding it together for her four daughters, Terry fitfully adjusts to his absence, while trying to avoid romantic involvement with her neighbour Denny Davies (Kevin Costner), a retired baseball player and radio personality who shares her love of the all-day cocktail hour.
The sight of two lost souls finding something unavoidably necessary in each other carries The Upside of Anger through it pleasant episodic drift. When Terry Wolfmeyer (Joan Allen) realizes that her husband won't be coming home again, she hits the skids and the bottle, leaving her four thunderstruck daughters (Alicia Witt, Keri Russell, Erika Christensen, and Evan Rachel Wood) to fend for themselves while she fends off the attentions of concerned neighbor Denny Davies (Kevin Costner). Writer/director Mike Binder (who has a good bit as Costner's sleazy producer) juggles too many subplots in this comedy/drama--his charming young actresses are all but wasted--then tosses in a wrongheaded climactic twist and terrible explanatory narration from young Wood. But the two leads do career-best turns: If you've given up hope on Costner, you'll be surprised by his shaggy dog appeal as a perpetually soused radio show host/faded ex-baseball star, while Allen's boozy, brittle performance is so remarkable that even her comic drunkenness is nuanced. --Steve WieckingSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Joan Allen puts in an extraordinary performance as the angry, bitter wife, matched (and I never thought I would say this) by Kevin Costner's performance as the drunken neighbour, a faded baseball star turned DJ.
Kevin plays a great drunk and is also convincing as a man intrigued by the femininity of the household he has suddenly become a part of. That all woman household is definitely a bewitching thing to watch and observe, with beautifully choreographed scenes in the kitchen, as the girls pick up the pieces of suburban life for their mother.
What is less convincing is the turnaround, particularly of Kevin Costner's character. He is altogether too unselfish and empathetic; his redemption too easy and straightforward.
Which is a great shame, because a film that looked like it would be a really insightful, emotionally complex piece turns into something altogether too pat and bland to be entirely satisfying. I'd still recommend it, if you want to watch a romance with a bit of bite to match the humour, and are in the mood for something a bit soapy.
He has an apparently simple yet not common touch, since his film and tv series are always very well centered and balanced on tone of voice, genres, and general portray of his characters, whose personalities reveal gradually, along stories that seem to unfold very naturally, in a continuum where drama, romance, comedy, and deeper issues or topics emerge along the flow.
He has a certain grace that you can find in this film, too, one of his best, btw.
Costner gives a mature, naturally appealing and almost "casual" performance, where you really can't tell how serious and intimate or how self ironic and lighthearted he can get.
Exactly like this film, who touches important things of life but with no emphasis at all.
Joan Allen stars as Terry Wolfmeyer, the middle-aged mother of four daughters precipitously abandoned by her husband, who's apparently run off to Scandinavia with his Swedish personal secretary. Terry internalizes her tremendous rage, and only just manages to control it with constant alcohol consumption. Her composure is further taxed by daughters Andy (Erika Christensen), "Popeye" (Evan Rachel Wood), Emily (Keri Russell), and Hadley (Alicia Witt) - all of whom are making life choices regarding love, sex, and education with which Mom vehemently disagrees. Circling the periphery of the Wolfmeyer household looking for a romantic opportunity with Terry is Denny Davies (Kevin Costner), an easy going but lonely ex-baseball star who subsists on beer and the money earned from autographing baseballs and hosting a radio talk show.
Once again, Allen demonstrates that her acting ability is a national treasure. Is it too soon in the 2005 film season to mention Academy Award? And Costner, who's had his Big Screen ups and downs, hits it just right with Davies, a role perhaps suggesting a composite of the characters he played in BULL DURHAM and TIN CUP. The young actresses playing the daughters are all beautiful and delightful, though it stretched my credulity to believe that they were siblings. And I think that there was one sister too many. (As in the planting of garden trees, three is the "right" number.Read more ›
The theme reeks of an Ordinary People -- a pot-bellied Kevin Costner shacks up with his friend's abandoned wife (Joan Allen) to guzzle sixpacks like their plane is going down. Thus brews a school-girlish game of attraction, complete with giggles and hiding in the backyard, punctuated in parts by digressions of Allen's four daughters and some choice characters with varying levels of relevance to the theme.
Recapping this moments-film would work as much as it would for the ilk of American Beauty or Ice Storm. Cheeky homages to urban cluelessness, studies of ordinary people in ordinary towns facing ordinary problems.
But there's an extraordinary flair, a rhythm, to the way their stories are told. You keep watching because you relate to the characters and mull over their predicament long after the credits have rolled. The bookish narration may be one downside, you think, but traces of good humor and some taut acting all round are surely the upsides of anger and they make up handsomely.
One for the discerning types. You may want to skip it if the relaxed rhythm of movies like Sideways or American Beauty ticks you off, but I recommend it to people with a taste for nuanced cinema.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This gets better the more times you watch it. Exquisite outfits. Well written, some great dialogue.Published 10 months ago by NMO
I got a whole heck of a lot more than I bargained for with this one. Initially bought for Joan Allen who is wonderful. And Erika Christensen who is always brilliant. Read morePublished on 27 April 2014 by BigAl82
A great quality turn from Joan Allen, a very good actress. Kevin Costner is always friendly and watchable. Read morePublished on 5 Mar. 2014 by Caramel
bought this for my daughter,she loves dvds
very funny and easy to watch
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