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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.43%
Worth A Look42.86%
Just Average: 19.64%
Pretty Crappy: 12.5%
Sucks: 3.57%

5 reviews, 26 user ratings

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Upside of Anger, The
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by Elaine Perrone

"Chronicle of a Mad White Woman."
4 stars

Terry Wolfmeyer is pissed off at the world. Her husband has disappeared, as has his young Swedish secretary. Her four daughters, who she loves dearly but can’t seem to relate to, appear determined to thwart her. Most days, Terry (Joan Allen) doesn’t even bother getting dressed. Clad in her nightgown and robe, she spends her days and nights gazing blankly at the television, her hand clenched around a tumbler of vodka.

Terry’s eldest daughter Hadley (Alicia Witt), equally as headstrong as her mother, breaks away from the dysfunction of her home for college, where she meets the man of her dreams. Instead of reveling in her daughter’s joy, Terry only manages to find fault, alienating Hadley even further.

Middle daughters Emily (Keri Russell) and Andy (Erika Christensen) infuriate the already-prickly Terry by shunning college entirely. Emily longs for a career as a ballet dancer, which Terry dismisses as impractical. Andy sends her mother’s blood boiling – and her mind into murderous fantasies – when she lands a job as an assistant producer at a local radio station and enters into an affair with her sleazy boss Shep (Mike Binder), a man twice her age.

Terry’s youngest, Lavender (Evan Rachel Wood), known as Popeye, is a bright middle-schooler who pines to lose her virginity to a boy who, for reasons of his own, can only be her friend.

Bravely (rashly) entering this nest of volatile women is retired baseball player-turned-radio personality Denny Davies (Kevin Costner), an amiable alcoholic who first becomes Terry’s drinking buddy and ultimately – surprisingly – her pillar of strength.

Writer-director Binder, who worked with Joan Allen on The Contender, created The Upside of Anger specifically for her, and she carries the movie brilliantly. The lovely Ms. Allen, long recognized as one of the finest dramatic actors currently working, demonstrates a knack for comedy, with her impeccable timing and a flair for delivering the wickedly snarky line.

The biggest, and most pleasant, surprise is Costner as the laid-back Denny, an overweight, over-the-hill jock who takes life as it comes, a rather unambitious stoner who is happy enough supplementing the income from his radio gig by selling autographed baseballs.

The joys of The Upside of Anger are entirely in the performances of the sterling cast, led all the way by the beautiful and talented Joan Allen. Binder’s screenplay is rather ordinary – strongly reminiscent of Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, and Something’s Gotta Give – and almost ruined entirely by a third-act plot contrivance that loops back from the movie’s opening scene.

Ms. Allen’s Oscar-worthy performance is unlikely to be remembered when the time for nominations rolls around. Still, it, along with charming turns by her supporting players, makes The Upside of Anger well worth a look amid the other current (mostly dreary) multiplex offerings.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11272&reviewer=376
originally posted: 03/17/05 13:26:15
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/27/09 Brett Anderson Butler Sexy, smart, improper, timely and funny. Happy film watcher today. 5 stars
5/22/09 art an r-rated sit-com 3 stars
1/01/07 Ellen Moss MIKE BINDER'S BEST 5 stars
6/02/06 drydock54321 liked the ending even though it was sad 4 stars
11/25/05 Rand Malkin Mike Binder's pitch perfect comedy 5 stars
10/30/05 Joe Smaltz Chick Flick, but a damn good one. The media hypes such crappy stuff, & this one is hidden. 5 stars
8/17/05 ES A believable story, excellent acting and characters = A classic with all the right moves 5 stars
7/30/05 Phil M. Aficionado Literally, "worth a look" for the acting; but major problems with the story and choppiness 3 stars
7/29/05 Sass Leclair Awful! I absolutely hated this movie; that's rare for me to say. 1 stars
6/07/05 woofer My early vote for the best movie of 2005. 5 stars
5/26/05 Scott Smiley Too many holes, and too dull for words 2 stars
5/05/05 kaz Allen and Costner are fabulous..the girls are not.. 4 stars
4/23/05 jcjs fine 5 stars
4/11/05 lindy03 very good movie...I really enjoyed it. good performances by all 4 stars
4/08/05 Denise Costner is good 3 stars
4/08/05 Heather A mature, intelligent, adult, relationship driven movie 5 stars
4/06/05 Elizabeth S Nice performances, especially Costner. 3 stars
4/05/05 kim frank i loved it 5 stars
4/02/05 Suzz talented actors in a good script with a meaninful story 4 stars
4/02/05 andrea ackerman A perfect film by Mike Binder 5 stars
3/21/05 Bobbi Plot too contrived and goes nowhere; average acting 3 stars
3/20/05 Jeff Anderson A magnificent & emotionally charged powerhouse! Allen, Costner & the 4 girls are TERRIFIC!! 5 stars
2/25/05 Lori Costner is sexy and funny! 5 stars
1/31/05 Kris Joan Allen was fantastic as were the girls; enjoyable story 4 stars
1/31/05 drtednelson hilarious, if flawed, comedy. 4 stars
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  11-Mar-2005 (R)
  DVD: 26-Jul-2005



Directed by
  Mike Binder

Written by
  Mike Binder

  Joan Allen
  Kevin Costner
  Erika Christensen
  Evan Rachel Wood
  Keri Russell
  Alicia Witt

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