I think Kevin Costner is one of the most under-rated actors of the last 20 years. Every role I've ever seen him in, he managed to make me really feel what his character was feeling... His role as the drunken ex-baseball star neighbor dude in The Upside of Anger reinforces that.
Recommend this product?
This is about a forty-something female (played remarkably well by Joan Allen) who's husband has disappeared. She's certain that the cad has taken off with his Swedish secretary and man is she ever pissed. This is a woman who was always sweet as pie, and is now hell on wheels over this perceived betrayal. She has 4 beautiful daughters, and an alcoholic has-been neighbor (Costner) who really is a nice guy. This film allows us a peek into their world as they deal with the normal variety of emotions given the situation.
If you are wanting a fast-paced roller coaster ride, this ain't it. But if you want a contemplative look into mixed-emotions and family interactions during crisis, this is it. I could not look away, no matter how tired I was at 1 AM. I had to see it through to the conclusion... and it payed off. That, my friends, is one good movie.
People don't know how to love. They bite rather than kiss. They slap rather than stroke. Maybe it's because they recognize how easy it is for love to go bad, to become suddenly impossible... unworkable, an exercise of futility. So they avoid it and seek solace in angst, and fear, and aggression, which are always there and readily available. Or maybe sometimes... they just don't have all the facts.
Allen was good as Morgain in The Mists of Avalon, as well as The Notebook, Pleasantville, and Searching for Bobby Fischer, but here she was phenomenal. Her chemistry with Costner was palpable. I could soooo relate to her in this one. She made me understand exactly where she was coming from, and I sympathized.
The daughters were icing on the cake. Erika Christensen, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, and Evan Rachel Wood were all just perfect. Each and every one of them conveyed their pain, their frustration, their embarrassment, their happiness, their everything, to such a degree that I have to tell you I was just amazed. I mean, I'm one who can find something wrong with generally every performance if I'm in that kind of mood... but I think this broke that general rule. The entire cast knew what they were about and the puzzle fell into place so neatly that I just cannot find flaw with any of it, or any of them. Amazing, that.
It isn't that this is super-deep, or that it will alter your life or anything. It's just that Mike Binder wrote a compelling story, and then somehow managed to pull the perfect cast for each role. It's like the girls really were raised together, and Allen really was their mom. They were just so in sinq in this one. That, my friends, is great direction.
Rated R for language (yeah well...), sexual situations (mild), brief comic violence (funny as hell) and some drug use (brief pot scene). I say 13 and up. I've said it before, I'll say it another zillion times: Language and all that will not turn your kid into a crazed killer. It just won't.
I have to go with 5 stars here, and you can bet this one will be on my Best of 2005 list when I get around to posting it. If you like psychological stuff, you will like this one.
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