The Upside of Anger
Official Poster Okay women, brace yourselves! This is the killer movie of all to confirm that, yes! sometimes a woman's preoccupations with her own emotions may unknowingly override her ability to consider things rationally. But hang on, now for the blokes! You should all brace yourselves too as you venture into this film and walk out with a whole new appreciation and perspective of just how resilient the female species can be. So as we can all see, ladies and gentlemen, The Upside of Anger is a film for all; an absolute must see for anyone of any age, place or gender.
This is a cleverly scripted film that engages the viewer on a number of levels as, layer upon layer, the tale unfolds. Anyone who has ever lived in, or even entered, a household containing five women understand the blend of daily dramas and family dynamics that one is sure to witness, and the Wolfmeyer residence is by no means an exception.
Joan Allen- The Upside of Anger Premiere
Joan Allen- The Upside of
Anger Premiere Joan Allen truly steals the spotlight with her sensational portrayal of the quick witted Terry Wolfmeyer; a suburban mother of four who turns to liquor to console her heartbreak over the disappearance of her husband, Grey Wolfmeyer. Why had the police not been phoned when he failed to return home? Simple, because in Terry's mind, he is an inconsiderate, uncompassionate adulterer in the throws of a mid-life crisis … that is until we are exposed to an unexpected twist at the end of the film.
While Grey's presence is sorely missed in the Wolfmeyer's household, Terry is left to tend to her own denial of her plummeting mental state and alcohol abuse, as well as caring for the four other young women in the house: her daughters Popeye, Emily, Andy and Hadley. Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood) is the youngest, and possibly also the strongest of the batch. It is her passion for words and film-making that acts as her anchor. Without such utensils she too may have been momentarily swept away with the current, just like her mother. Despite her strength, Popeye still has an element of naivety that comes along with the territory of being a confused teenager. Then we have Emily; the aspiring dancer who literally sends herself to sickness through over dancing, under eating and niggling stress, portrayed with supreme conviction by Keri Russell (minus the famous curls from her Felicity days!).
The two eldest of the four Wolfmeyer siblings, Andy (Erika Christensen) and Hadley (Alicia Witt), refuse to be entrenched in the era of depression that reigns the family's household. Instead they follow their own leads by, in Andy's case, securing a rather high profile position of employment at Denny's (Costner) radio station and, for Hadley, running for sanity in arms of University and delving into the unknown of marriage and motherhood.
To add to the list of talented cast members is Kevin Costner, who committed to gaining twenty pounds for the role. Costner plays Denny, the former baseball hero and, in more recent times, radio DJ and alcoholic who lives across the road from the Wolfmeyers. This role is a far cry from the award winning Dances with Wolves, however, if any film was to win back his Hollywood credibility this one is, without a doubt, the pick of the bunch.
There is substantially more to Denny than simply Terry's neighbour who pops on over to offer support as a drinking partner and bed associate (despite hiding in his backyard, decked out in his bed clothes, upon Terry's first invitation for sexual relations). Denny's true intention for their relationship is rapidly unveiled; his one and only desire is to make her smile.
Every character in the film is well rounded, polished, complex and complete. It truly would have been a travesty for the astounding dialogue and punchy lines cleverly scripted by Mike Binder, who also directed the film and stars as Andy's radio guru boyfriend, to have been thrown away by less talented actors. Although a couple of the roles were previously offered to alternative actors, such as the likes of singing sensation Mandy Moore, The Upside of Anger could not have been cast with more suitable actors.
This may sound like a rather emotionally draining mixture of sub plots and complicated characters, with a slightly unbalanced mixture of oestrogen and testosterone; and may you not be fooled, as that it surely is. It is the black humour, the gruesome exploding head at the dinner table (yes, it's true; but you must watch it for yourself!), the dog slobbered chicken and the familiarity of family domestics that differentiates The Upside of Anger from the typical tragedies and triumphs of Bold and the Beautiful, or such other soapy dramas that take years to unfold and progress. It's a magical and inspiring lesson on the ability to turn negative situations into positives.
Kevin Costner, Keri Russell, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Alicia Witt, Mike Binder, Dane Christensen
Director: Mike Binder
Rated: R (USA) M (Australia)
Official Release Date: 11 March 2005 (USA) 12 May 2005 (Australia)
Running Time: 118 minutes
Official Website: http://www.upsideofanger.com/