The Upside of Anger (2005)

Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood,
The Upside of Anger is a movie starring Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, and Erika Christensen. When her husband unexpectedly disappears, a sharp-witted suburban wife and her daughters juggle their mom's romantic dilemmas and family...
  • 6.8 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Mike Binder, Director:
  • Jack Binder, Alex Gartner, Sammy Lee, Producer:


2 / 10

terrible, painful

The acting is wooden, the plot is unbelievable, the time lines and aging don't match, and in general it is just painful to watch. If this is considered a good movie, then I should be a director! Rent a classic instead, better yet read a book.

The only likable character might be the radio DJ Art. Kevin Costner is running on fumes. Joan Allen is good, but you can only act like that for so long in the movie.

Mike Binder should have stuck to a couple of characters to work with instead of trying to squeeze something out of everyone of them. Better luck next time.

3 / 10

Lost Opportunity

Terry Wolfmeyer (Allen), wife and mother of 4 daughters, has to face the life after her husband suddenly disappears, apparently with his secretary, to Sweden. Left alone to raise her daughters, she quickly discovers the comfort of Gin & Tonic, in company of her next-door neighbour Danny (Costner), a once-great baseball star turn radio DJ. The drinking buddies slowly evolve into a relationship, becoming her source of strength in overcoming her husband's defection and concentrating on her daughters again.

While the performance of Costner and Allen are pretty convincing, the story fails to deliver at many points and we are left wondering why we should care. Rich people with rich people's problems. Both Terry and Danny are way too financial secure to convincingly convey any empathy and the most interesting and likable characters, the daughters, don't have the opportunity to fully develop. Even the surprising twist-ending ultimately fails to deliver.

In short it's an absolutely forgettable movie, a lost opportunity. The only highlight is Kevin Costner who has never been so good at being so ordinary.

10 / 10

Sundance review...


"Classic melodrama" was the old-fashioned term used to characterize family dramas where women struggled with their situation or gave voice to once- repressed desires. More often than not, these films focused on the bourgeoisie, where stifling urges and desires for fulfillment is endemic. Galvanized by a great and witty script, and powered by truly remarkable performances by Joan Allen and Kevin Costner, Upside of Anger is a welcome and inspired revision of the classic genre. Writer/director Mike Binder deserves all the kudos he will likely receive for this superbly rendered comedic drama, which is at once traditional and iconoclastic and as absorbing and entertaining as it is appealingly human.

The story is set in motion when the alcoholic matriarch of the well-to-do midwestern Wolfmeyer family discovers her husband has disappeared and left her to raise four headstrong daughters (all in various stages of young adulthood) on her own, without any clear means of support. Her drunken rants fuel her already combative parenting style, and the situation really erupts when a middle-aged neighbor makes a play for her attention. The stellar cast, including Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell, and Alicia Witt, makes this portrayal of a family's emotional transformation one of the most pleasurable and surprisingly unpredictable romantic dramas you'll see this year.? Geoffrey Gilmore

Producers : Alex Gartner, Jack Binder, Sammy Lee Cinematographer : Richard Greatrex Production Designer : Chris Roope Costume Designer : Deborah Scott Cast : Joan Allen, Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, Mike Binder

7 / 10

A movie that moved me....

The upside of Anger is a movie with a lot to say about many things, in addition to anger. So many movies today have nothing to say...and become so easy to forget. This one was memorable. The movie spoke of relationships, emotion, perseverance, humor, tolerance, and of course anger. This movie was a near masterpiece, really. The performances were terrific by all the females, especially Joan Allen. The script was terrific and the directing was top notch too. Kudos to Mike Binder!!

All people have shitty things happen to them...that's a fact. The lesson in the movie is that the important thing is, how do we deal with those shitty things. We can choose alcohol, we can choose anger, we can choose to hurt those we love. But eventually, we will chose happiness, despite all the mayhem life throws our way. Happiness is a relative term. I loved the fact that there were many things about Terry (Joan Allen) that I didn't like, yet, I still liked her enough to be sympathetic towards her. I don't cry that easily during movies, but this one brought the Kleenex out, twice. I am a guy and I am aware that tears are very therapeutic. A good cry is awesome..if it's real. Many things have been said about the ending, but watch it for yourself. I have no problems at all with the ending. See this movie, I dare you not to like it.

1 / 10

Crass Imitation of "Heart Warming Family Drama"

"The Upside of Anger" is a crass imitation of "heart warming family drama." There are a couple of lines of dialogue that ring true, and a couple of scenes that work really well, but the true moments are awash in a movie so crass, exploitative, and phony it made me cringe.

Mike Binder, the filmmaker, earned a lot of brownie points for making a movie about a woman over forty, starring an actress over forty: Joan Allen.

But Binder is sure to surround Allen with a bevy of young beauties. Somehow this woman had four daughters who always look like they are posing for the cover of "Seventeen" magazine. Every one -- one a blonde, one a brunette, one a redhead -- is, in every scene, provocatively dressed, perfectly coiffed, and without a single zit. Tell me, in how many families with that many teenagers can you find not a single pimple or kid who's too skinny or too fat, or too shy or too loud, or who moves awkwardly? Feh.

Joan Allen bears about as much relation to a real woman over forty as Mickey bears to a real mouse. She drinks alcoholically, and yet never has puffy eyes or sallow skin. After relying on alcohol for months, she just, one day, quits, with no addictive kickback. I don't think so.

Oh, and the day her husband disappears, an incredibly attractive man -- Kevin Costner! -- throws himself at her. Oh, yeah, this happens to every newly single woman over forty with four kids. In Fantasyland! And, after her husband disappears, she never does a thing to attempt to contact him, but, somehow, his money continues to support her lifestyle, which is just a bit short of a Donald Trump style life. Where is all that cash coming from? Sure, this is a movie, and movies aren't supposed to be real. But this movie advertises itself as a film that takes on tough problems. There should be a word for this -- advertising your film as a film that addresses alcohol abuse, the loneliness of an abandoned, older mother, suddenly finding oneself single -- and then lies about every one of those important issues.

there are a couple of good scenes that just make everything around them look more like drek. An older, nebbishy character (Mike Binder, the filmmaker, also plays a small part in the movie), tells Joan Allen exactly why he chases younger women. His point is a valid one, and that scene deserves to be in a better movie.

Throughout the movie, Joan Allen plays a self absorbed ice shrew who deals with life and loved ones by pouring herself a stiff drink, sitting around in her negligee, and refusing to speak, while shooting death rays with her eyes. This is never believable, because we all know and love Joan Allen, and she's the star of the movie, so we keep waiting for her to show what a great gal she really is at heart.

Kevin Costner, though, reaches a point where he won't put up with this any more, and he emphatically tells her, "I'm tired of being your bitch." This is an electric scene, and it very much deserves to be in a much better, braver, grittier, funnier, tougher movie.

Finally, the last act offers a surprise ending that makes everything that came before it cheaper and utterly unbelievable.

Given the great cast here, and the good intentions, somewhere, in here, there is a good movie dying to get out. Sadly, it never quite does.

You almost want the cast to reassemble at some point in the future, and try again.