The Upside Of Anger Shows An Upside To Binder’s Body Of Work

6616-The-Upside-of-Anger--2005-After nearly 12 years of scattered work which did include a short lived series on HBO, entitled The Mind Of A Married Man, Mike Binder would return with his most acclaimed cast to date and most interesting and possibly challenging film yet.

The Upside Of Anger stars Kevin Costner as an alcoholic ex-baseball player turned radio DJ and Joan Allen the newly alcoholic scorned wife of a husband who has apparently left his family for a younger woman, leaving his wife to finish raising their four daughters. When Costner discovers Joan Allen’s situation, a reluctant kinship is formed between the two until the true cause of Joan Allen’s husband’s disappearance is discovered.

The story centers around a woman who just wants to be sad over her apparent situation and a man of fame who ultimately wants to be forgotten by everyone including himself at times. The other central character is that of the self medication choice the two have made and that despite being a perfect match for each other, they are also toxic for each other. As their lives unfold and they grow closer along with experiencing tragedy together they seem to help each other.

With fantastic performances from everyone, especially a young and lesser known Evan Rachel Wood as “Popeye” the youngest of the sisters as the story is really told through her eyes that appear to be wise beyond her years, The Upside Of Anger is probably the best title in that it truly explains the complexity of a life that they thought was complex enough already.

Binder was at the time concerned that Costner would not be interested in once again playing a baseball player. His fears were releaved when Costner told him if the script is right and he likes the material he doesn’t care what the character does for a living. Joan Allen was a natural choice for Terry Ann. The two had worked together on the film, The Contender with Jeff Bridges and she had hoped Binder would be able to write something for her in the future and a better part, she could not have gotten. ?????????????????`

It really is Binder’s finest film up to that point and is amongst his best over all. Despite the seriousness of it’s over subject matter, humor once again does not elude Binder’s script and film. It is his most polished film and most perfectly made. Binder appears in the movie as the womanizing Shep, Costner’s radio producer. Displaying the wit and underrated acting ability that landed him his series with HBO that unfortunately was cut short.

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5 thoughts on “The Upside Of Anger Shows An Upside To Binder’s Body Of Work”

  1. The only upside to this film is the twist ending that is only welcome because you end up hating the characters so much (I won’t spoil the ending but I also wouldn’t recommend this film). To be fair though, I thought Kevin Costner was pretty good in this and I liked his character. Joan Allen is good at what she does but what she does best is play really hateful people and sometimes (most of the time) they are not necessarily the kind of characters I enjoy. Erika Christensen, Keri Russell and Alicia Witt play hateful daughters of a hateful mother really well too because I now hate them and don’t wish to see any other films that they are in. Evan Rachel Wood is forgiven and has more than made up for it since. Basically I found this film in the bargain bin and it had ‘Incredibly funny’ written on the sleeve. It’s not ‘Incredibly funny’ but it does however belong in the bargain bin.

  2. Looks like you didn’t understood the film. The characters aren’t hateful, they’re human. The film is about anger, and how it can consume a person and people surrounding them. The ending shows that anger can be wrong, and it’s a new beginning for the characters.

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