Family in Crisis
Upside of Anger
Review by Ross Anthony

My girlfriend really enjoyed this movie and thought I might as well, so we watched it last night on cable. I thought I might like it too, given the cast and interesting subject matter. But I didnít.

Joan Allen is a smashing actress, but here she is very bland. I didnít buy her anger, she didnít intimidate me and only once did she evoke any emotion from me. Actually, I like Costner too, and while he nailed his character better than Allen -- the fact is the film on the whole is not very impressively acted. Thatís probably because of the four daughters who are written rather thinly and never grab us emotionally.

At the outset, Joan Allenís character realizes that he husband has left her and she allows herself to fall apart -- so she sayís. But she never really breaks apart. She, and the filmís title, claim that she becomes very angry -- but really -- all it seems is pissy to me. I didnít see the fury. I didnít see the heartache. I only saw someone get pissy. And the girlís show almost no remorse that their father left. I think this is the key error in the story. We never see the kids broken up over their fatherís sudden disappearance. Maybe thatís why we donít take the daughters too seriously.

The film does host some beautifully written and directed scenes. The awkward invitations to sex between the Kevin and Joan characters are charming and fresh. And the one scene where writer/director Mike Binder as Shep the slimy producer mouths off to Joanís character -- that is absolutely precious. I love that scene. Still, thereís a lot of stiff film in between. Not to mention the contrived scene set ups.

Lastly, instead of building, the film hangs on the hope that weíll find the anger/tension thing interesting for almost 2 hours at which time, finally, Kevinís character busts down a few doors ďIíve had enough.Ē What a nice scene and a great set up for resolution. But instead of the satisfaction we deserve for tolerating the pissy mother, we get a twist that eclipses much of the meaning of the film. And although Joanís character finds some resolution -- it isnít quite clear how or why.

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  • Upside of Anger. Copyright © 2005.
  • Starring Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensesn, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, Mike Binder, Dane Christensen.
  • Written and Directed by Mike Binder.
  • Produced by Alex Gartner at New Line.

Grade..........................B- (1.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:43:54 PDT