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The Upside of Anger (2005)

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

Director:

Mike Binder

Writer:

Mike Binder
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Allen ... Terry Ann Wolfmeyer
Kevin Costner ... Denny Davies
Erika Christensen ... Andy Wolfmeyer
Keri Russell ... Emily Wolfmeyer
Alicia Witt ... Hadley Wolfmeyer
Evan Rachel Wood ... Lavender 'Popeye' Wolfmeyer
Mike Binder ... Adam 'Shep' Goodman
Tom Harper ... David Junior
Dane Christensen ... Gorden Reiner
Danny Webb ... Grey Wolfmeyer
Magdalena Manville Magdalena Manville ... Darlene
Suzanne Bertish ... Gina
David Firth David Firth ... David Senior
Rod Woodruff Rod Woodruff ... Dean Reiner (as Roderick P. Woodruff)
Stephen Greif ... 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...is the person you can become. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Germany | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 April 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Outra Face da Raiva See more »

Filming Locations:

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$211,559, 13 March 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$18,761,993, 26 June 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Every attempt is made to show the Wolfmeyer home in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, however the drivers license shown is from West Bloomfield and has the zip code listed as 66020 which is for Easton, KS and Bloomfield Hills, MI is 48301. The address listed is 1246 Puritan Avenue. There is no Puritan Ave in either Bloomfield Hills or West Bloomfield, MI. Also, in Michigan the license expires on a person's date of birth and the license # starts with the first letter of the persons last name. In this case both of these are in error. See more »

Quotes

Terry Wolfmeyer: [Shep is dating Terry's daughter] The whole thing just infuriates me.
David Junior: That's probably half the attraction.
[Everyone stares at him, shocked]
David Junior: What?
Hadley Wolfmeyer: [sternly] You know what. Not another word.
[pause, then Denny cracks up laughing]
See more »

Connections

References Bicycle Thieves (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Serenade in B Flat
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Courtesy of Naxos Rights International
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Joan Allen Show - highly recommended!
20 April 2005 | by anhedoniaSee all my reviews

"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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