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The Upside of Anger (2005)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  1 April 2005 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 17,174 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 217 user | 121 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

When her husband unexpectedly disappears, a sharp-witted suburban wife and her daughters juggle their mom's romantic dilemmas and family dynamics.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Tom Harper ...
David Junior
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Gorden Reiner
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Grey Wolfmeyer
Magdalena Manville ...
Darlene
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Gina
David Firth ...
David Senior
Rod Woodruff ...
Dean Reiner (as Roderick P. Woodruff)
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Emily's Doctor
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Storyline

A sharp-witted suburban wife, Terry Wolfmeyer, is left to raise her four headstrong daughters when her husband unexpectedly disappears. Things get even more hectic when she falls for her neighbor Denny, a once-great baseball star turned radio d.j. This leaves her daughters out on a limb. They are forced to juggle their mom's romantic dilemmas as well as their own. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

drinking | baseball | anger | radio | secretary | See more »

Taglines:

Sometimes what tears us apart helps us put it back together See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual situations, brief comic violence and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

1 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Outra Face da Raiva  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,179 (Hong Kong) (3 June 2005)

Gross:

$18,761,993 (USA) (24 June 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer/director Mike Binder said that Kevin Costner's character is an amalgamation of Detroit Tigers baseball players Denny McLain (from whom the character gets his first name) and Kirk Gibson. See more »

Goofs

The State of Michigan eliminated the requirement for all cars to have front license plates in 1974, which still stands to this day. All of the modern cars in this movie have front and rear license plates. See more »

Quotes

Hadley Wolfmeyer: What kind of a dickhead runs away with his secretary? That is lame, take a right, make a left at pathetic.
See more »

Connections

References Bull Durham (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Spooky Music
Written by Alexandre Desplat
Performed by Alexandre Desplat
Courtesy of Upside of Anger Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Upside to This Year's Movies
10 April 2005 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

Life doesn't come with an instruction manual or a script to follow, it's basically improv on a daily basis, and as it plays out people and things often are not who or what they seem to be on the surface. It's reality, as opposed to the way you expect, hope or want it all to be; truth, as opposed to an individual perception of truth. That's life. And "The Upside of Anger," written and directed by Mike Binder, explores some hard realities that differ drastically from expectations and perceptions.

The film opens with a funeral, a somber note which in a sense prepares you for what is to follow, after a flash back of three years, at which point the story begins. Terry Wolfmeyer (Joan Allen) is at loose ends because her husband has run off with his secretary, leaving her and four daughters behind to fend for themselves. Angry, distraught and a stone's throw from bitter, Terry turns to alcohol to deaden the effects of what has been a life-altering experience. Luckily-- or maybe not-- Terry has a neighbor, Denny Davies (Kevin Costner), an ex-pro baseball player turned radio talk show host, with whom to share a drink and commiserate. Her daughters (three teens and one in college) are supportive, as well-- to a point. But they are each in their own way also struggling to understand why their father deserted them. By all accounts, this was in no way a dysfunctional, angst-ridden family, so the actions of their father is a mystery to them all. Naturally, it's a pivotal point in their lives, and before any of them can move on, especially Terry, they have to know why he did what he did. In the meantime, with or without this needed closure, life is happening to and around them.

Binder (who also appears in the film as the producer of Denny's radio show) displays an astute knowledge of human nature with this film, and how random the myriad twists and turns of life can be. He holds your attention from the opening scene (who's funeral is it, anyway?), and just when you think you know where the story is going it takes an unexpected turn. And he is in no way attempting to manipulate his audience; rather, he is giving you a reflection of the way life so often simply does not go the way you think it's going to. It's a succinct look at relationships, and of how fragile-- as well as resilient-- we all can be.

As Terry, Joan Allen sets vanity aside to create her character and turns in an Oscar caliber performance in doing so. When she gets up in the morning she looks like a middle-aged woman with insufferable problems and a hangover, a woman in the throes of coping with a traumatic experience who is desperate to reconnect with a life she no longer has and who will do anything within her power to hang on to what she has left. She's walking a tightrope over a deep abyss and she's understandably on edge, so when one of her girls tugs the rope and compromises her control and security, she quite naturally lashes out, proving the old adage you always hurt the one you love. There's a scene in which a grieving Terry draws her hands to her breast and, head lowered, utters a cry, and anyone who has ever known any kind of grief or loss in their life will at that moment know exactly what she is going through. It's a terrific piece of acting, a performance that is altogether affecting and memorable.

And, as performances go, Kevin Costner, too, puts vanity aside to create a character that is entirely convincing. Denny Davies is paunchy, his hair is thin and most of the time he looks as though he's had one beer too many. Still, he's engaging, and you get the feeling there's a complex individual hiding behind an external simplicity that perhaps helps to mask his true feelings about a lot of things in his life, including his career on the diamond. Why, for example, does he refuse to talk about baseball on his sports talk show? In it's purity, this is arguably Costner's finest performance ever.

Top notch performances are turned in, as well, by Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell and Alicia Witt as Terry's daughters, respectively, Andy, Popeye, Emily and Hadley; and by Binder himself as Shep. In the end, "The Upside of Anger" is an involving, memorable film that celebrates life and leaves you with a sense of hope, that no matter how bad things get we all have the capacity to get through it and somehow find the light at the end of the tunnel. And that's the magic of the movies.


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