Movie Review: The Upside


Lantern Entertainment

A still from the movie Upside.

Amelia Mendes , Opinion Editor

It is rare for a movie to successfully balance comedy and drama, but The Upside was effective in making me both laugh and cry. Bryan Cranston’s performance as Phillip, a disabled wealthy business mogul, was incredible and believable, doing true justice to the person of whom his character was based on, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. Kevin Hart’s performance as Dell, an ex-convict turned hero, was hilarious and impactful, his chemistry with Cranston both genuine and entertaining. The Upside was uplifting in the sense that the audience was truly able to sympathize with the characters and become invested in the storyline. Although the movie does include some more serious themes that are inappropriate for younger audiences, these themes are counterbalanced by spattered comedic bits, which refine the tone of the storyline and contribute to character development.

The story is ultimately about recovering from tragedy. In the beginning of the film, we learn that Bryan Cranston’s character, Phillip, has tremendously suffered in the past few years, losing his ability to move his body from the neck down in a skydiving accident and losing his beloved wife, Jenny, who was battling cancer. After firing his most recent “life auxiliary”, a person who helps him with everyday tasks that he can no longer complete himself, a depressed Phillip is reluctant to hire again. That is until he meets Dell, an ex-con who thought he was applying for a janitorial position. Phillip hires Dell and the two become close friends as Dell reintroduces Phillip to the joys of living.

The film also addresses the societal treatment of the disabled and how people are often hesitant to interact with disabled people in social situations, avoiding eye contact and/or conversation. For example, in one scene, Phillip and Dell are at a restaurant and the serves asks Dell what Phillip wants to eat, as if Phillip didn’t actually exist. Dell then blatantly criticizes the server for being inconsiderate and belittling and the server apologizes and is then more polite. After watching this film, you have a more sympathetic and conscious view of the treatment of the disabled, now more knowledgeable of the genuine hurt it can inflict upon a person’s feelings.

Leaving the theater after the movie, I felt better than I did when I went in. The Upside had made a positive impression on me, which, in the end, was its intent. I highly recommend this film and give it four stars. I would also recommend bringing a box of tissues, as you will cry from laughing so hard and from the heartfelt moments which will stay with you afterwards.****