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129 out of 196 people found the following review useful:

Great story, strong actors

Author: heather from California, USA
10 February 2004

The Upside of Anger was a wonderfully written script. The perfect blend of humor and sadness, consistent in real life. Each character was developed uniquely, with many different layers. Each character was matched by strong up and coming and veteran actors. Joan Allen as usual is a gem and proves that mainstream Hollywood is missing one of the great female leads of our time. Kevin Costner sticks out and steals the show. He's quirky but real and perfectly lovable. All the girls, although they did not get enough screen time, were capable, exceptional, actors with a bright future in front of them all. Especially the youngest daughter played by Evan Rachel Wood. This is a rare comedy that must be seen. Although the average American may find it slow with it's absence of car chases and sword fights, one can only hope that this movie will find it's audience and grow enough to fall into the laps of the average and broaden their minds.

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100 out of 142 people found the following review useful:

The Upside of Kevin Costner

Author: A.W Richmond ( from United States
25 April 2005

Among the many pleasures that "The Upside of Anger" offers, Joan Allen and Kevin Costner's performances are very much at the center of it. We are used by now at Joan Allen's marvelous gallery of characters. Here, she reaches very high, creating a character that moves through highs and lows with overwhelming power. It is a performance so entertaining, apart from everything else, that you are really compelled to go wherever she wants to take you. Kevin Costner, however, is the biggest surprise. I'm even tempted to call it a revelation. He carries the soul of the character in his sleeve with disarming charm and humanity, not a single false note. I believed him, I loved him, I want to see him again. Mike Binder, the gifted writer director of this film, unfortunately, outstretches himself a little bit. He gives too much room to his character and instead of allowing it to grow with the famous less is more formula, he concedes himself a couple of extra long and repetitive scenes that slow down the proceedings in a rather dangerous way. If I had been the producer I would have fought like crazy to eliminate the supermarket scene. But I'm not going to dwell on it. The film is a triumph for the two leads. Thank you Joan Allen and well done Kevin Costner. I'll see you again at Oscar time.

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85 out of 123 people found the following review useful:

Drama with some laughs and a twist

Author: ArizWldcat from United States
28 January 2005

I saw this when it premiered at the Sundance film festival (although the director & actors didn't bother to come to our screening), and I enjoyed it. Kevin Costner plays a baseball player, but the movie is not about baseball; it deals with the anger the lead character feels when her husband disappears, along with his secretary. Joan Allen plays the wife of the missing man, and is the mother to four daughters, played very well by Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russel, Erika Christensen, and Alicia Witt. Joan Allen was marvelous. We laughed many times when she glared in anger at different characters in the movie (and we were glad she wasn't mad at US! LOL...) I have not been a big fan of Kevin Costner in recent years, but thought that he did a great job as the man who helps Joan Allen's character pick up the pieces. The writer/director also has a role in the film as an older man who dates Joan Allen's daughter. I thought the message of the film was delivered well, and it was an entertaining story. There is a twist at the end that I truly did not see coming. I don't think it spoiled the movie, it was just unexpected.

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65 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

An Upside to This Year's Movies

Author: jhclues from Salem, Oregon
10 April 2005

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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51 out of 74 people found the following review useful:

One of the best to come out in 2005 so far.

Author: alexander zeier (flashbeagle) from milwaukee
11 April 2005

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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30 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Costner's Gift to Joan Allen

Author: gregorybnyc from United States
1 August 2005

I've always admired Kevin Costner's laconic screen presence, in BULL DURHAM, TIN CUP, even DANCES WITH WOLVES, JFK and PERFECT WORLD. Now no longer leading-man handsome, he's developed into a first- rate character actor, and as a washed-up, alcoholic ex-baseball player-turned radio talk-show host, Costner offers company and comfort to Joan Allen as a drinking buddy in the bittersweet THE UPSIDE OF ANGER. Mike Binder's superb film about an abandoned wife of four teenage girls should qualify as one of this year's best films. But because it was released so early, did only respectable business, and isn't a vehicle for an over-hyped box-office attraction on magazine covers now, it will probably only get the respect of word-of-mouth. I saw this engrossing, deeply wonderful film when it opened last winter, and made up my mind that I would have to have the DVD as soon as it became available.

Joan Allen, as Terry Wolfmeyer dazzles us in a performance that is both comically and dramatically masterful as the drunken mother seemingly at war with her four beautiful daughters. Terry's rage over her husband's abandonment of her and their children, is a mean-spirited rebuke to her daughters, who try with great patience to survive their mother's theatrical bitterness. But mama has given them the gift of her humor, and I think it's what saves these girls. There's a look that Joan Allen gives when one of her daughters is doing exactly what she doesn't want them to be doing. What it is they are doing to upset their mother is always in doubt because she's never really making rational sense. She's only filtering her displeasure through the rheumy eyes of her last cocktail. There's a scene at the family dining room where Hadley, her eldest daughter (the ever fascinating Alica Witt, who should be starring in her own movies), announces she's pregnant with her second baby. Allen was none-to-happy that her daughter opted for marriage and motherhood over a career, and her beady- eyed stare at her daughter's latest announcement of her grand-motherhood is a comic masterpiece. But when Allen finally can no longer avoid facing her crippling anger, Allen breaks your heart. Having never had an outlet for her comic abilities, she's surprises you with her skill. That she walks this fine tightrope between both extremes says much for her talent as an actor.

Finally back to Costner. Denny Davies might have been a dangerous character for Costner to revisit. Afterall, he's played washed up or played out sports characters before. His career has suffered a very precipitous fall following the media-created debacle of his so-called grandiose ego in WATERWORLD, and the opportunities have been few and far between since then. But Denny is a rich character any actor would love to sink their teeth into, and Costner embraces Denny's humanity with consummate ease. Discovering his neighbor has been abandoned by her husband, Denny offers to keep her company while they drink. They warily circle each other during these boozy afternoons of watching television, drinking and not saying much to each other. And when that changes, you see the transition from friend to lover mainly through the eyes of Denny. When she first proposes they sleep together, it's Denny who chickens out at the last minute. But as their relationship develops, you see Denny reach out to Terry's girls in a way that is sympathetic but also gives them room to accept and then love him in return. This is a terribly important test for Denny. So when the youngest of the girls finally asks him if he plans to marry Terry, Denny comes to understand that the girls have welcomed him into the family. Costner is sensational in this film, but he keeps it all so low-key, always keeping the focus on Allen's character, and he ends up giving her the film--and rightfully so, I think. This is a gift to Allen. Costner recognizes this, and I think the movie is all the better for his act of generosity. This is a performance that people will talk about for years to come. Like Jeff Bridges and Dennis Quaid, Costner is one of our best screen actors, and it's great to see him in a role that is truly worthy of his fine talent.

Each of the daughter's is skillfully rendered by Erka Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russel and Alicia Witt. These young women look and act like siblings. Auteur Mike Binder has given himself a role as Denny's radio producer, who is romancing one of the daughters, much to her mother's disgust. He's funny, pathetic, and just a bit creepy as a Romeo with romantic ideas way above his station!

Binder's fine script gives this ensemble film the ballast that keeps you laughing and crying. He's found the emotional core in these character's lives, and the pace of the film, which clocks in at just under two hours, provides a sense of completeness.

Ultimately it is Costner's generosity as an actor that so disarms the viewer. In every shot, Joan Allen's Terry is the riveting center, with Costner playing to her every moment without stealing attention away from her. That earns my whole- hearted respect.

THE UPSIDE OF ANGER should be seen and savored by anyone who cares deeply about moves with something to say about the human condition. Binder's adroit direction makes this a film to set beside TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, AS GOOD AS IT GETS, and Lasse Hallstrom's vastly underrated SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT. Finally it's such a pleasure to see two pros such as Allen and Costner hit it right out of the park!

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31 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

The Joan Allen Show - highly recommended!

Author: anhedonia from Planet Earth
20 April 2005

"The Upside of Anger" showcases many good performances but make no mistake about it, this movie's clearly the Joan Allen Show. And what a show she puts on.

About an hour into the film, Allen's Terry Wolfmeyer bursts into a room unannounced. Her reaction lasts just a few seconds, but they're priceless. Writer-director Mike Binder keeps the camera on Allen and what we get is a moment of sheer brilliance, one that should be shown to all acting students.

Binder does something awfully bold in this film. He lets his story revolve around two seemingly unlikable people - Terry and her neighbor, Danny Davies (Kevin Costner). They're two self-destructive, terribly selfish, occasionally boorish people who wallow in their own pity. Terry's furious and hurt because her husband left her for his Swedish secretary, while Danny's a former Detroit Tiger who now spends signing baseball memorabilia and running a radio talk show where he refuses to talk baseball.

They find solace in each other, not because they particularly like each other, but because they each need a drinking buddy. But thanks to two very fine performances, they're likable.

Much to Binder's credit, he doesn't simply settle his story on Terry and Danny. Wisely, Binder lets his story take its time. We get to know Terry's children, too. There's Andy (Erika Christensen), who's dating an older lech Shep (Binder); Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood), the youngest and budding filmmaker; Emily (Keri Russell), who feels unloved; and rebellious Hadley (Alicia Witt). These young women have their own personalities and spending time with them makes the story richer.

Costner is awfully comfortable playing Danny. In fact, Danny is Crash Davis, slightly older and a bit more cynical. Danny doesn't like clinging to his baseball past, but he knows that's all he's got. It's nice to see Costner in these roles. He plays them better than most and it's a loose, relaxed performance that never goes over the top.

But the movie really is all about Allen. It's tough turning a self-destructive and pitiful alcoholic into someone we want to spend time with. But Allen simply sparkles in the role. She's smart, quick-witted and fraying at the edges, trying to keep her wits about her. We not only understand her roller-coaster emotions, but also find them believable. Performances like hers are truly rare and Allen does nothing wrong here.

Had this film been released last year, Hilary Swank might very well not have walked away with her second Academy Award. Not only does Allen deserve a nomination for her remarkable performance in this film, she also probably deserves to win it.

What surprising about Binder's story is that despite all its warmth and humor, there's still a very nice and unexpectedly dark edge to it all. It's refreshing to see a film where the characters and the situations aren't exactly all that rosy. And even moments that could have easily been played for their melodrama are brilliantly underplayed and toned down. They work much better this way, than having characters resort to histrionics.

The film's voice-over narration, on the other hand, gets a bit preachy. And a revelation at the end is a bit questionable. Astute viewers would figure it out because that's really the only rational way to deal with it. Binder sort of lets us in on it very early on in the film.

We never get to see the title's real meaning in this film. That, presumably, comes after the end credits and all these characters get on with their lives. Nevertheless, "The Upside of Anger" is a good film studded with a great performance by one of today's finest actresses.

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45 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

Upside Of Anger: Peterbilt-sized Plot Holes SPOILERS

Author: mkarl2 from United States
18 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I adore Joan Allen, and was rooting for her. However, watching her, I'm reminded of a one-line review of Robert DeNiro in 'New York, New York' : "DeNiro plays a saxophonist like a clenched fist."

Inciting incident: offscreen, a husband allegedly runs off with his Swedish secretary - to Sweden, of all places.

Angry, hard-drinking wife cancels the credit cards. That'll show him.. If he was dead, then there'd be no husband-related balance changes to their bank accounts. The very dullest of intellects might notice the lack of withdrawals.

If he was dead, then where's the alleged Swedish secretary? Why didn't she come around? Why is there no missing-persons search? And where'd the rumor that they ran off to Sweden come from?

Terry says that she heard that her husband "wasn't talking about it to his co-workers": if he wasn't at the office, he couldn't talk about it, true, but the tiny point that he wasn't at the office at ALL didn't seem to make it through.

Kostner lets himself be filmed with unflattering stubble and body fat, gets to act slightly drunk most of the time, and looks like he enjoyed himself thoroughly. Although why he's attracted to Allen's spiky, completely unlikeable Terry character is utterly unexplained.

The four daughters were definitely all photogenic and each has fragmentary subplots.

Number One, the eldest, is preggers on graduation day and gives Mom the news that she's getting married. Exit stage left. We only see her again at the end, pregnant again. No babies in evidence.

Number Two is a wannabe dancer with stomach-aches and lots of conflict with Mom, which lands her in hospital, life in danger, oops, it's 'only' stress related, let's go to the ballet where Mom Will See It My Way And Let Me Live My Dream.

Number Three Doesn't Want To Go To University (way to rebel!) and instead gets involved with a sleazy radio producer, Denny's old friend.

Number Four, the youngest, tries repeatedly to seduce a moronic kid whose only topic of converse is bungee jumping, and it turns out he doesn't even do that, like Peter Sellers, he likes to watch. Oh, and he's gay.

Number Four daughter also carries the heavy-handed task of providing subtext, in the form of a stupid computer video ("..a CLASS assignment, Mother") about conflict and warfare between the sexes, which gives us too-often-repeated visuals of people hitting each other from old silent films, and gives her all too many opportunities for portentous voice-over crimes against this already crippled film.

Director/writer Mike Binder writes himself a role where he gets to entice Terry's juiciest daughter with a dream job, and then becomes her lover. He's the only one that ever tells Terry how hateful she is, getting slapped for his trouble. Kostner's Denny character, knowing full well what a sleazebag Binder's character is, goes ahead and gets Binder and Daughter Number Three together anyway. Sorry, aging male fantasy time.

The big revelation near the end of this film was a complete bust. The fiction was that Terry's husband had run off with his secretary and had no contact whatsoever.

But hey! He's been dead in a hole all this time!

For a few minutes after the big discovery-in-the-woods, I thought it was possible that Terry had killed him and hidden his body in the 80 acre wood behind their house.. now, THAT would have been a reversal worth waiting for, and would have explained Terry's total lack of interest in her departed husband's whereabouts. But it would've undercut the purported reason for all that vitriol.. but we could've re-understood it as guilt and anger at herself.. ah, the wasted opportunities.

But no, we get a long-delayed funeral, where Denny's finally wormed his way into the family. And of course the big, heavy-handed irony is that Terry's three years of good anger was wasted.. Oh, All The Damage She's Wrought.

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27 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

The Upside of Anger is that we learn about ourselves and change

Author: gradyharp from United States
17 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Mike Binder both wrote and directed this searingly important film; important for its concept, for its ensemble acting, and for performances by Joan Allen and Kevin Costner that are now the gold standard for the year by which all other award quality performances must be judged.

Anger, and how it paralyzes our emotional outlook and alters our perception of reality and works to destroy those around us, is the harsh subject of this examination of a well-to-do family of husband, wife and four teenage daughters. The story is narrated by the youngest daughter Lavender 'Popeye' Wolfmeyer (Evan Rachel Wood) and never were the words 'out of the mouth of babes' so pertinent. The mother Terry (Joan Allen) is introduced drunk, constantly in her nightgown with glass of vodka in hand, and she pretty has spent her days in that manner since her husband Grey 'left her with his 22-year-old Swedish office girl' without a note, a call, or confrontation with his family. Terry is consumed with anger, self pity, loathing, and barely manages to maintain a household, completely relying on her four daughters to cook, clean, shop, etc while she finds reasons to berate them for every act and motivation the girls show. Hadley (Alicia Witt) is the oldest and enamored with a boy Terry considers a waste of time. Andy (Erica Christensen) doesn't want to go to college but to become a reporter instead - a fact Terry refuses to consider. Emily (Keri Russell) prefers to follow her dream of becoming a ballet dancer and attending an Arts College that, of course, Terry refuses to allow. Popeye, the youngest, is hungry for belonging and wants desperately to be noticed by not only her mother but by boys, etc.

A neighbor Denny Davies (Kevin Costner) is an alcoholic ex-baseball hero who now has a cheesy but popular radio talk show produced by his buddy Shep (Mike Binder, yes, the writer/director!). Denny has been friends of the Wolfmeyers for years and shows up drunk, warmly offering himself as a drinking partner to Terry. The two spend their time drinking and watching television and watching the daughters each arrive at crises: Hadley gets pregnant and announces her engagement to Terry after everyone else knows: rage from Terry and an embarrassing scene at Hadley's announcement dinner. Andy gets a job at Denny's radio show only to fall into bed with the lothario Shep: rage and a public fight from Terry. Emily somaticizes her career frustration and ends up in a hospital with an ulcer: self-pity and depression from Terry. Denny slowly works his way into Terry's bed and become a surrogate father/lover to these five father/husband-deserted women. The ending is a shocker and cannot be revealed because it would destroy the fine story line of the film. But it begins as it ends and that is the part that leaves the audience aghast that they didn't suspect that turn of event.

Binder's script and direction achieve the impossible: he is able to create a family in disarray, deal with every aspect of anger, desertion, family ties, mother/daughter love (though severely tested), the needs of the 'victim' and how they can be tended. Amazingly he does this with a large does of comedy, acerbic dialogue, restrained responses, and a keen grasp of reality that makes this a film about a tough subject one that is engrossing and never off-putting.

The entire cast is pitch perfect: each of the actors who portray the daughters is exceptional. But the brilliance that radiates from the screen is the triumphant performance by Joan Allen. She inhabits Terry and despite the fact that she has every reason to make us loathe her character, she manages to keep her portrayal so sensitively nuanced that we stay close to her in this journey. She is simply amazing in her body language, her understanding of alcoholic behavior patterns, and her internalization of her needs at the expense of her ever-surfacing rage. Much the same can be said for Kevin Costner who gives the finest performance of his career in a role that could be pathetic and negative in the hands of a less capable actor. His comedic talents shine, but not at the expense of his enormous sensitivity to the five women with whom he ends up living.

Alexandre Desplat has once again created a movie score that has perfectly beautiful passages of music while always underlining the story appropriately. The cinematography by Richard Greatrex finds the perfect vantages that seem like windows in the hearts of each of the participants in the story. Highly Recommended.

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40 out of 64 people found the following review useful:

The Upside of Grey Goose.

Author: ross-48 from Philadelphia
16 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


You call this anger??? You call this Transformation??? Anger is paying 8 bucks to see a film about the transformative power of anger and sitting for two hours watching Joan Allen give a stupefying performance as a boring, self-indulgent housewife. What an utterly pedestrian take on anger!

First, as far as anger goes, Terry seemed angry in a way only identifiable to a very sheltered WASPy class of people. I did not come away from this film understanding anything more about WASPy anger, or the social pressures of conformity felt by upper class women, or the challenges faced by women sheltered by marriage. What I did understand was that it's apparently quite easy to shock and offend people in Bloomfield simply by being snappish and socially inappropriate. Wow, how outrageous! Oh, that crazy, angry Terry Wolfmeyer! How absurd!

Secondly, the film's fatal mistake was opening *after* the Wolfmeyer's marriage had apparently dissolved and Terry was already angry--or grouchy, as the case may be. Terry's transformation through anger--the entire premise of the film--was left entirely to the pithy narration of the daughter: "My Mom had always been the nicest person, really." Really??? How so??? How did she change??? How was she different by the end of the film??? Give me something to go on!! Narration is not a substitute for plot--it's a weak cop-out. Just tell the audience the story instead of actually developing a script that demonstrates it.

Thirdly, I have to take issue with the way in which Shep--the only really noble, honest character in this film--was shabbily dismissed. Denny, who had hooked up with his friend's wife *a week* after the marriage broke up, physically attacked his friend Shep for making the most ambiguous possible pass at Terry weeks after she and Denny had split. What a hypocritical plot device! Shep was raked over the coals throughout the film for being an older (and unattractive) man who liked young women--Ohhh, how disgusting! How vile! What a bad, bad man! Bad to whom??? Shep was honest about who he was and what motivated him and he didn't care what people thought about him. And, he was the only character in this film who consistently stood up to Terry's whiny, childish behavior. He should have slapped her! She deserved it!

I supposed by the end of the film, the audience was supposed to share Denny's righteous anger--but truthfully, Denny just came off as a possessive, hypocritical lout. I thought liking Kevin Costner's character in a film was too good to be true--and I was right.

Basically, this film seems to have been made exclusively for an audience of highly repressed, self-involved, suburban middle aged women. There was a really annoying *wink and a nod* quality to the dilemmas faced by Terry--something I felt completely alienated by.

The only "Upside" of this film is the fact that it'll make a great contribution to the Lifetime network's menu of pithy, suburban drama. But I'll take real anger, thank you very much.

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