Upside of Anger, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

In this intense family drama, Terry Wolfmeyer (Joan Allen) descends into deep anger and depression after her husband leaves her. Emotionally destroyed, Terry resorts to heavy drinking and forces her daughters to fend for themselves while she stares mindlessly at the television. But soon, Terry gains a drinking buddy in the form of a family friend and washed-up ex-baseball player, Denny Davies (Kevin Costner). With a mixture of sympathy for the family and attraction to Terry, Denny plants himself in the middle of the broken Wolfmeyer home. Joining them for meals and playing a husband/father-figure, Denny starts spending more and more time with the family. And with his influence in the house, he not only helps Terry and her daughters grieve, cope and communicate, but he also finds in them some of the compassion and purpose that he has longed for all of his life.

The Upside of Anger portrays the harsh reality of a broken home and all of the emotional and relational turmoil that goes with it. Viewers will sympathize with a woman who has been deeply wronged but who is also being destroyed by her own responses to that wrong. But unlike other films in its genre, this one presents a message of hope and redemption. The characters have values and, though their lives are imperfect, they are growing. Terry goes from drunkenness to sobriety as she learns to cope with life without a husband. Denny models patience, compassion, gentleness and wisdom for the broken family while Terrys daughters learn to love her despite her emotional outbursts. Had the filmmakers avoided the temptation to drench it in objectionable language and to add gratuitous drug use, crude sexual dialog and homosexuality, The Upside of Anger would have been a great film. But as it is, Preview cannot recommend it to anyone.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty
Fine Line Features

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (17) times mild (hell 1, damn 5); moderate (other 1); strong (-ss 8, b-tch 2)

Obscene Language: Many (28) times moderate (p-ss 2, scr-w 5); strong (f-word 9, s-word 10, finger gesture 1, d-ck 1)

Profanity: Many (15) times moderate (OMG 2, G 4); strong (GD 5, J 4)

Violence: Few times mild (man pushes another man, woman slaps man); moderate (man kicks in a door); strong (woman vividly imagines making a mans head explode)

Sex: Few times mild (unmarried man and woman shown in bed talking about the repercussions of their sexual relationship, unmarried man and woman shown waking up in bed together)

Nudity: Few times mild (woman shown exiting shower with towel covering her)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times mild (woman makes a reference to the size of a mans genitalia); moderate (woman refers to her husbands affair with a secretary, older man portrayed as seeking sexual relationships with younger women, man asks his girlfriend about the quality of their sex life, woman claims to have faked orgasms); strong (girl asks boy to have sex with her, but he declines; man and woman talk about having sex using obscene language)

Drugs: Several times mild (frequent use of alcohol by main characters); moderate (alcohol use degrades into drunkenness several times); strong (boy and girl shown smoking from a bong)

Other: Portrayal of the effects of adultery on the family, portrayal of depression and anger and its effects on the family, presentation of failures and successes in family relationships and communication

Running Time: 118 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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