Straight-laced Rose breaks off relations with her party girl sister, Maggie, over an indiscretion involving Rose's boyfriend. The chilly atmosphere is broken with the arrival of Ella, the grandmother neither sister knew existed.
An uptight, conservative, businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family's annual Christmas celebration and finds that she's a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life.
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
Lauren Ambrose changed her mind about playing the role of the daughter whose obsession with dance and dieting almost kills her. Keri Russell soon took on the role. Russell had studied classical dance when she was younger. She said she just needed some catch-up classes. See more »
When the family limo at the beginning and end of the movie is returning from the funeral, the opposing car is seen driving away from the camera on the right side of the road instead of on the left side, which would have never happened in Michigan. See more »
What kind of a dickhead runs away with his secretary? That is lame, take a right, make a left at pathetic.
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Once every so often a movie comes along that hits all the right notes with its audience. It has just the right amount of each element that makes a great film and then kicks it up a notch with more.
Mike Binder has done all this with his new film, The Upside of Anger. Upside of Anger opens at a scene from the end of a movie; a scene that stays in the audience's mind, making us trying to guess its cause all the way through the movie. We meet Terry Wolfmeyer, a middle aged woman with four daughters who is trying to keep their and her own life in balance. Terry's husband has just recently left the family causing Terry to spiral into alcohol and bitterness. Along comes Denny Davies, an ex-baseball player, current radio show host, and Terry's neighbor. He too, is a fan of the drink, and strikes a friendship with Terry along with a fatherly role for her daughters. At its root, it's Terry's story about how she deals with the continuous growing of her relationships, of her daughters, and of herself.
Mike Binder, the writer and director, has a great way of showing the lives of all his characters. He is able to make this movie just as life really is; its funny, depressing, uplifting, bittersweet, and sometimes tragic. He seems to be able to capture real life on camera and display it with all its truth and realism. The writing is completely intelligent, hilarious writing is mixed with scenes of great emotion. Binder never relies on action or dialogue that will cue laughter or tears; it comes naturally through the writing. It works differently for every person in the audience.
Joan Allen is fabulous as the angry mother, Terry. Her performance contains each the real emotion of a mother with all that she is dealing with. She plays it with vigor that strikes that fear in us that we all know mothers can emit, but we also see her lighter funny side. Kevin Costner does very well as Denny, who, surprise surprise, is a baseball player. His performance is hilarious as the washed up player who beams an empathetic hippie attitude. Costner, in his first good and well-written role in a while, is a relief to have. Also hilarious is Director, Mike Bender's Shep, Denny's radio show producer. The four daughters also add four different personalities to the family that interact very nicely.
The Upside of Anger is a wonderfully acted movie, and what's more, it is superbly written. It captures a true essence of family life. And, while its hilarious, it's a refreshing kind of humor that is very mature and not based on the stupidity that many people think we want to see. Mike Binder is successful at making a movie about the characters and about life that actually does a good job at representing both things. Upside of Anger gets 5 stars (out of 5)
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