Starring Joan Allen, THE UPSIDE OF ANGER spans three years of a woman's life following her husband's sudden disappearance. Terry Wolfmeyer (Allen), an affluent suburban Detroit wife and mother, goes from a paragon of sweetness to a volcano of rage in the wake of her husband's desertion; she thinks he has jetted off to Sweden with his Swedish secretary. Barely holding it together for her four daughters (distinctively played by Alicia Witt, Keri Russell, Erika Christensen, and Evan Rachel Wood), Terry fitfully adjusts while befriending Denny Davies (Costner), a retired baseball player and radio personality up the street who shares her love of the all-day cocktail hour.
Allen is a delightful force, displaying serious comedic talent and effortlessly stealing each scene. She glows with an unaffected sexiness, while Costner shines as the seemingly all-wrong man who turns out to be completely right. Writer-director Mike Binder casts a keenly perceptive eye on male-female relationships, a topic he also explored in his critically-acclaimed HBO series THE MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN. Binder also appears in a role as Denny's producer Shep, a shallow womanizer with surprisingly resonant reasons for being shallow. As the three years pass, Terry and her daughters are confronted with varying individual situations, choices, and compromises, with moments that ring true in ways both moving and strikingly funny. THE UPSIDE OF ANGER is an ideal combination of drama and humor.