• Publication date: May 1, 2010

A Tragic New Beginning One Never Knows What Is Best

Joan Allen of �Nixon� (1995), �The Crucible� (1996), and �The Contender� (2000) notoriety stars in �The Upside of Anger� (2005), where she depicts Terry Wolfmeyer an estranged alcoholic housewife who has given up on relationships.

Joan Allen of �Nixon� (1995), �The Crucible� (1996), and �The Contender� (2000) notoriety stars in �The Upside of Anger� (2005), where she depicts Terry Wolfmeyer an estranged alcoholic housewife who has given up on relationships. Appearing opposite Allen is Oscar Award winner Kevin Costner, whose successes include �The Untouchables� (1987), �Dances with Wolves� (1990), �JFK� (1991), and �Field of Dreams� (1989). Costner depicts former baseball star and radio talk show host Denny Davies, Terry�s drinking partner and eventual love interest.

Terry Wolfmeyer is a bitter, yet amusing alcoholic. Her husband, a presumably wealthy professional appears to have abandoned his wife and headed to Switzerland, accompanied by his hot secretary. Terry considers calling her husband numerous times, but each instance begins dialing only to hang up the phone. She is insistent upon overcoming the seemingly natural depression of desertion, yet her strength is found in bottles of alcohol rather than herself. Another of Terry�s coping mechanisms is bitterness and witty attacks on her daughters, Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood), Emily (Keri Russell), Hadley (Alicia Witt), and Andy (Erika Christensen).

One day neighbor Denny Davies drops by to discuss a real estate venture with Terry. The former housewife is initially uninterested in speaking with Denny, or any other man for that matter. However she eventually agrees to let her neighbor in, and although he cannot convince her to converse, Denny does at least coax her into sitting in the same room with a member of the opposite sex. It is during this initial meeting that the couple discovers they share an important pastime: alcohol. Soon afterward the two become regular drinking buddies and Terry�s hatred of men slowly, though not completely disappears.

Denny becomes a regular fixture at the Wolfmeyer residence and forms a bond with Terry�s four daughters. Both Terry and her neighbor are lonely, and although it is not directly stated, it is mutually sensed. Rather than sit in an empty house with a living room full of baseballs, Denny adopts Terry�s daughters as his own, even assisting college dropout Andy in finding work at his radio station. His compassion for the girls is not one sided either; Denny fills the void left by the departure of their father and Popeye even encourages Denny to propose to her mother.

Meanwhile Emily struggles with the dream of becoming a dancer and attending a performing arts academy, while her mother insists upon a more traditional path at Michigan State University. In parallel, Popeye undergoes her first crush and acts upon it, though the boy she is in pursuit of turns out to be a homosexual. At first glance the film appears to be just another upbeat romance, however we must warn viewers, without spoiling the plot, that there is an unpleasant twist to this otherwise happy ending.

�The Upside of Anger� was generally well received by critics and earned an impressive 67% fresh rating at movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. It is rated R for language, sexual situations, brief comic violence and some drug use with a runtime of 118 minutes.