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The Upside of Anger

Genre: Drama
Rated: R
Directed by
Released by: New Line Cinema

In Short: Although Kevin Costner delivers a solid performance, it is the mesmerizing Joan Allen that steals the spotlight in this movie.

Truly Intoxicating
Costner and Allen Add the 'Upside' to This Sweet Drama
By Cherie Saunders

Joan Allen is mesmerizing as Terry Wolfmeyer, a sharp-tongued, suburban mother dealing with the bitter sting of a husband’s betrayal while trying to handle her four opinionated daughters—Hadley (Alicia Witt), Emily (Keri Russell), Andy (Erika Christensen) and the film’s narrator, Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood). Believing her husband has run off with his secretary, Terry finds solace at the bottom of her frequent gin and tonics and a drinking buddy in her lonely next-door neighbor Denny (Kevin Costner). A former pro baseball star, Denny is now an alcoholic sports radio jock who gravitates toward the boisterous warmth and sincerity of the Wolfmeyer home.

The daughters are slow to accept his constant presence around their mother, but he soon becomes an ad-hoc father figure and source of strength for the unraveling Terry. Meanwhile, the film’s writer/director Mike Binder (creator and star of the HBO series “The Mind of the Married Man”) co-stars as Shep, Denny’s radio show producer, who develops a relationship with Terry’s daughter Andy. Emily’s wish to attend a dance school against her mother’s wishes, Hadley’s secret development with her boyfriend and young Popeye’s emerging womanhood all mix with Terry’s existing abandonment to cause her slow unraveling. Add the alcohol, and her anger begins to infect her every relationship until finally, she hits rock bottom.

While Costner's Denny is quietly strong, it is the textured Allen who triumphantly steals the film with her amazing range. The actresses who play the four daughters bring their own layered performances to the table and boldly hold their own against the talented veteran. All conspire to make Binder's “The Upside of Anger” truly intoxicating.

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