The Upside of Anger (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner02/05/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Engaging, brilliantly directed, frequently funny and ultimately moving drama with a terrific script and superb performances from Allen and Costner.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Mike Binder (Reign Over Me), The Upside of Anger stars Joan Allen as Terry, the mother of four unfeasibly gorgeous daughters (Alicia Witt, Erika Christensen, Keri Russell and Evan Rachel Wood), who hits the bottle in anger and frustration after her husband mysteriously disappears. Terry's life is complicated enough with her daughters and their relationships, but then her boozy neighbour, ex-baseball star Denny Davies (Kevin Costner), starts putting the moves on her.

The Good
Joan Allen is always excellent, but she's on particularly fine form here, bristling with anger throughout and masking her considerable pain with bitter sarcasm and hurtful comments. Costner is equally terrific, displaying an unexpected gift for comic timing and delivering his best performance since Tin Cup. His stoned scenes, where he giggles at highly inappropriate moments, are extremely funny.

In addition, the romance between Denny and Terry is believable and genuinely heart-warming, thanks to some palpable chemistry between the two stars.

The Great
The supporting cast are good too, though you do feel a little bit sorry for Erika Christensen, whose character ends up in a romance with Binder himself, who's hilarious as Denny's sleazy radio producer, but certainly no oil painting. The relationship must surely be the worst example of abuse of writer/director privilege since Woody Allen snogged Julia Roberts in Everybody Says I Love You.

The film recalls The Squid and the Whale in its ability to simultaneously induce both laughter and tears. Binder's script crackles with wonderful dialogue and there are several hilarious gags, including an unexpected fantasy sequence that gets the film's biggest laugh.

Worth seeing?
This is a thoroughly delightful film with a superb script and terrific performances. Despite its limited release, it is well worth seeking out as it's one of the best films of the year.

Be the first to review The Upside of Anger...
image
01 Into the Storm (tbc)

Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jeremy Sump...

image
02 Horrible Bosses 2 (tbc)

Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, Jennif...

image
03 God's Pocket (tbc)

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Christina Hendricks, Rich...

image
04 Wakolda (tbc)

Alex Brendemuhl, Diego Peretti, Guillermo Pfening

image
05 Annabelle (tbc)

Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard, Eric Ladin

Content updated: 01/08/2014 08:45

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Mood Indigo (12A)

Breathtakingly imaginative and beautifully designed, this is an engaging, funny and ultimately moving love story. Starring Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.