Upside of Anger, the - Upside of great performances

New Line
Duration: 118min
Category: drama
Available: On DVD
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While The Upside of Anger is not a remarkable movie on its own, the performances of the two leads make the film worth watching.

The Upside of Anger is the story of wife and mother of 4 almost grown daughters whose husband suddenly disappears. Joan Allen plays Terry who doesn't respond well to this development and instead turns to drinking and generally being unpleasant. Kevin Costner plays a neighbour/friend who is at first sympathetic and eventually a loving replacement for her husband. He's the reason she heals, as much as she is capable of healing, in the end.

Joan Allen is her usually brilliant self. She is outstanding in a difficult role but this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has ever seen her in anything. This woman should have had an Oscar a long time ago and maybe this will be the year, although I doubt it as voters will probably forget about The Upside of Anger long before next February comes around.

On the other hand, I have never respected Kevin Costner. I normally find his performances wooden and pedestrian. Also, while I feel he's a competent film maker, I have never found any spark of creativity in his work until his underrated 2003 film Open Range.

However, in The Upside of Anger Costner is a joy to watch. His character is a has been slob who, despite or because of his faults, is completely loveable. He's the antithesis of Allen's character and the real pleasure of watching this film is seeing them collide. If Costner ever deserved accolades for a performance, this is it.

The rest of the cast, which includes quite a few familiar faces, is largely forgettable. Even the usually remarkable Evan Rachel Wood and Alicia Witt are very vanilla. But none of this matters much as the film is saved by the leads.

The Upside of Anger is worth renting although it's not the find of film to see again and again. It's worth checking out to see one of the best actresses of her generation (sorry for the cheesy cliché) at the top of her game (one more for the road).

Review By: Collin Smith

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