The Upside of Anger—New Line
Joan Allen is really good. Really good. She stars as Terry Wolfmeyer, a suburban Michigan mother whose husband suddenly, unexpectedly—and mysteriously—leaves her in The Upside of Anger. Her performance as a boozy, embittered, and struggling woman coming to grips with being alone and keeping it together for her kids is fabulous. In the midst of all of this turmoil, she develops a relationship with ex-baseball player and radio-talk-show host Denny Davies, played by an in-top-form Kevin Costner. Terry's dialogue and interaction with her daughters is first-rate and heartfelt.
The 2.35:1 anamorphic picture wonderfully showcases the summery greens of upper-middle-class suburban life, and the cinematography captures the actors' faces and emotions, drawing you in close. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix is unobtrusive, letting the scenes dictate the sound instead of the other way around. Extras are the standard fare, with commentary from Allen and director Mike Binder, along with deleted and behind-the-scenes clips.
Despite how it sounds, this isn't a downbeat film. There are laugh-out-loud moments, and, even if you don't like the ending, it's not enough to affect the originality of the rest of the film. Binder adds some comic relief as sleazy radio producer Shep, as does Costner. Keri Russell (Felicity), Erika Christensen (Traffic), Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen), and Alicia Witt (Two Weeks Notice) are stunning, individualistic, and completely unified in their portrayals of the daughters. This is a smart, first-class movie.