The Upside of Anger

Rated R 2005

Joan Allen is Terry Wolfmeyer, a wife abandoned by her husband and left to pick up the pieces. She is the cold, composed visage of a woman struggling to keep it together; through her pale, glowing skin you can see her blood simmering, kept from boiling over by the chilled Grey Goose she pours down her throat. Her rare, phony smiles belie the fury coiled beneath the surface -- a fact not lost on her four daughters, played by Alicia Witt, Keri Russell, Erika Christensen, and Evan Rachel Wood. Into this upper-middle-class cauldron of fury and despair stumbles Denny Davies (Kevin Costner), a former Detroit Tiger turned neighborhood drunk, who goes nowhere without a bottle of Bud and a tightly rolled joint. Denny and Terry make perfect partners, drinking buddies who make the awkward leap into bed before realizing they feel something after all. It's a lovely movie almost undone by writer-director Mike Binder's easy ending; these characters, who look like movie stars but feel like your neighbors, transcend his flaws as a storyteller.

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