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Some extraordinary performances make this worth seeing
on 5 November 2007
The Upside of Anger is a film about a woman's descent into alcoholism after her husband abandons her (and their 4 teenage daughters) without a word or a backward glance.
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.