Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Upside of Anger


A woman’s husband has just walked out on her and her four daughters. She’s pissed at him and drinks a lot. A washed-up ballplayer neighbor who also drinks a lot comforts her, and they become lovers. There are domestic squabbles with the kids. There is a big surprise at the end, which a lot of critics didn’t like, but I did.

I experienced my usual trouble feeling sorry for these rich, beautiful people in a neighborhood of Detroit that I never saw during the summer of ’65, when I worked there and drove all through that armpit of a town, from Dearborn to Hamtramck. But the writing is good and so is the acting, and the daughters are so gorgeous it was worth watching just for them (Erika Christensen, Keri Russell, Alicia Witt, and Evan Rachel Wood). Kevin Costner is at his best, laid back and easy to watch. Why does he bother with those overblown pieces of crap like Waterworld and The Postman? He can be funny and wise. But this piece was obviously written for the stunningly great Joan Allen, and she chews it up. I couldn’t get past how much I despised the narcissistic toxic mother, whose nurturing never got beyond fixing great meals in a House Beautiful kitchen to die for.