The Upside of Anger
When a suburban Detroit housewife with four daughters (Joan Allen) is abandoned by her husband, she takes refuge in booze, resentment and a faltering affair with a has-been baseball player and local radio host (Kevin Costner). Writer-director Mike Binder’s script starts out with a tired old cliché (a funeral in the rain) and then threatens to become an unpleasant wallow with two sloppy, obnoxious drunks. But Binder is aiming higher than that; as the film goes on, the characters grow more complex and engaging, and the movie becomes something deeper, more heartening and even beautiful. Binder directs just as well as he writes, drawing terrific performances from everyone (Allen and Costner have never been better). He even managed to write a show-stealing role for himself as Costner’s seedy radio producer. J.L.