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Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Nothing to get angry about in powerful drama

Grade: A

Detroit native Mike Binder directs, writes and co-stars in “The Upside of Anger,” an emotional film starring Joan Allen and Kevin Costner.

Allen headlines in a powerhouse performance as Terry Wolfmeyer, a frustrated wife with marital issues and four daughters.

Alicia Witt plays the responsible, but overly critical Hadley, and Keri Russell plays Emily, a trained dancer, who has high standards and different feelings about her father than her other three siblings.

Evan Rachel Wood plays the youngest daughter, Lavender (a.k.a.) “Popeye,” who has a crush on her classmate. Her school documentary provides a unique bridge to the film’s theme and nice bookends to the overall plot.

Erika Christensen disappoints Terry first by not pursuing college and by getting close with her co-worker, Shep, well played by Binder.

As the plot progresses, Terry gets increasingly sarcastic and insensitive when giving advice to her daughters.

“Take life seriously; don’t live in the clouds,” Terry says.

The honest, but spiteful Terry grows increasingly bitter and eventually finds solace in her always amiable neighbor Denny, played by Costner. Their progressing relationship provides great appeal and originality to the film.

The plot methodically progresses over a three-year period by using great character-defining scenes and repeated situations to accentuate their progression.

Binder uses some nice personal touches such as setting the film in Detroit (they even mention Toledo.) His direction is well supported by the exceptional cinematography and set design.

The movie is a perfect blend of plot and characters, which yields satisfying comedy and drama.

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