Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Upside of Anger

Submitted by Lezah

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The Upside of Anger

“Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That’s what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It’s real, though – the fury, even when it isn’t. It can change you…turn you…mould you and shape you into something you’re not. The only upside to anger, then…is the person you become.”

So begins the film ‘The Upside of Anger’, starring Joan Allen and Kevin Costner. We rented it the other night, and for some odd reason I was under the impression that it came out a few years ago, but in fact it was one of this year’s spring releases. Written and directed by Mike Binder (who also appears in the film as the character Shep), this film falls under the ‘classic melodrama’ umbrella – but with a new millennium feel to it.

‘The Upside of Anger’ tells the tale of a woman who, along with her four daughters, is abandoned suddenly by her husband. She’s angry and bitter, and turns to alcohol to cope. A neighbour shows up both unannounced and unaware of what has transpired; it doesn’t take long before he joins the wife in her alcoholic excesses. This all sounds rather sordid, but the family’s upper middle class veneer remains, aided largely by the wife’s trust fund. So, other than an absent dad and an angry mom, not a lot really changes for the family – or maybe it does.

The mother is volatile, and the family situation is toxic, but yet there is a surprising stability to the new family unit. Life goes on, and changes happen - some good, some bad. The ending of the film is actually the beginning, but in spite of that, what happens is still a surprise.

Veteran character actress Joan Allen does a superb job in the role, as does Kevin Costner.

I recommend this movie – it’s not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a good man-hating type chick flick, then this is the film for you.

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