The Upside of Anger
|The Upside of Anger|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mike Binder|
|Produced by||Jack Binder|
|Written by||Mike Binder|
|Music by||Alexandre Desplat|
|Edited by||Steve Edwards|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
The Upside of Anger is a 2005 American romantic comedy and drama film written and directed by Mike Binder and starring Joan Allen, Kevin Costner and Evan Rachel Wood. It is set in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The film was produced by Jack Binder, Alex Gartner and Sammy Lee.
The opening scene presents Terry Wolfmeyer and her four daughters, with a friend, Denny Davies, attending a funeral.
About three years earlier, a flashback reveals, Terry had told her daughters that she thought their father, Grey, had left the family to be with his former secretary in Sweden. After sharing the news with neighbor Denny, a retired baseball player turned radio talk-show host and fellow alcoholic, Terry progressively grows close to the man, with whom she eventually begins an intimate relationship.
Keen to help where he can, Denny helps Andy, one of Terry's daughters, to become a production assistant at the radio station where he works. There she meets and starts a relationship with Shep, Denny's producer, a questionable character in his 40s. Meanwhile, daughter Popeye, who is attending a private high school, finds herself attracted to a classmate, whose attention she fails to grab even after clearly declaring her interest to him (the classmate purports to be gay).
Another daughter, Emily's original wish to attend a performing arts school to study dancing is superseded by her mother's request that she pursue university studies, which she starts at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. A fourth daughter, Hadley, for her part, announces immediately following her graduation that she is engaged to her boyfriend of three years, and pregnant.
When Popeye asks Denny what his long-term intentions are concerning his relationship with her mother, Denny decides to broach the subject with Terry, only to be confronted by anger and accusations that he is trying to push her into a marriage for which she feels unready. Weary and tired of Terry's ever-shifting moods, Denny storms out of her house; the separation is only temporary, though, as the two reconcile a short while later.
When a real estate deal involving both Denny and Terry finally goes through, construction begins in the area surrounding their homes. A worker accidentally uncovers an abandoned, partially covered well, where Grey Wolfmeyer's body is found, revealing that he had never left his family. Rather, he had accidentally fallen in the well and died.
As the story returns to the initial scene, the Wolfmeyers and Denny, now part of the family, leave Grey's funeral to reveal that Terry, while saddened and grieving, is coming to terms with her own and her daughters' life choices and, finally, finding some inner peace.
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- Joan Allen as Terry Wolfmeyer
- Kevin Costner as Denny Davies
- Alicia Witt as Hadley Wolfmeyer
- Keri Russell as Emily Wolfmeyer
- Erika Christensen as Andy Wolfmeyer
- Evan Rachel Wood as Lavender "Popeye" Wolfmeyer
- Mike Binder as Adam "Shep" Goodman
- Tom Harper as David Jr.
- Sarah Coomes as Anna Holstein
- Dane Christensen as Gorden Reiner
- Danny Webb as Grey Wolfmeyer
- Magdalena Manville as Darlene
- Suzanne Bertish as Gina
- David Firth as David Sr.
- Rod Woodruff as Dean Reiner
- Stephen Greif as Emily's doctor.
- Arthur Penhallow as Himself
According to Mike Binder in the "Making of" featurette on the DVD, the script was rejected by several major studios due to the casting of Joan Allen(which goes unexplained); the Binders then sought independant financing, studios,and renegotiated compensation deals with talent to stretch the budget to complete the film. Additionally, according to the closing credits and the special features section of the DVD, much of the film was shot at Ealing Studios, London, with some scenes filmed in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a wealthy suburb of Detroit. At one point in the film, Detroit rock radio station WRIF serves as a backdrop.
Costner's character, Denny Davies, is believed be based on Denny McLain; like McLain, Davies is a retired player from the Detroit Tigers who later had a radio talk show. (Several still pictures of Costner from For Love of the Game, in which he played a Tigers pitcher named Billy Chapel, are used as posters in Davies' radio studio.)
The film holds a 74% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 181 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site critical consensus reads "A comedy/ drama for grown-ups, with fine performances by Joan Allen and Kevin Costner."
Awards and nominations
- Chicago Film Critics Association: (1) Best Actress - Joan Allen
- San Francisco Film Critics Circle: (1) Best Supporting Actor - Kevin Costner
- Critics' Choice Movie Awards: (2) Best Actress - Joan Allen, Best Supporting Actor - Kevin Costner
- Online Film Critics Society: (1) Best Actress - Joan Allen
- Satellite Awards: (2) Best Musical or Comedy Actor - Kevin Costner, Best Musical or Comedy Actress - Joan Allen