Discovering The Upside Of Anger
Mike Binder’s 2005 dramedy The Upside of Anger is on my list of all-time favorite movies. Everytime I watch it, I’m reminded why it has remained on my list over the years. The film tells the story of a suburban wife, Terry Wolfmeyer (played by Joan Allen) who is left to raise her four headstrong daughters when her husband unexpectedly disappears. One of the reasons I like the movie so much is its subtle exploration of relationships and the ties that bind us and break us. My favorite parts are thought-provoking reflections by the youngest of the Wolfmeyer daughters, Lavender a.k.a. Popeye, played by Evan Rachel Wood.
On love, Lavender “Popeye” Wolfmeyer (Evan Rachel Wood) says:
People don’t know how to love. They bite rather than kiss. They slap rather than stroke. Maybe it’s because they recognize how easy it is for love to go bad, to become suddenly impossible… unworkable, an exercise of futility. So they avoid it and seek solace in angst, and fear, and aggression, which are always there and readily available. Or maybe sometimes… they just don’t have all the facts.
On anger, Lavender “Popeye” Wolfmeyer (Evan Rachel Wood) says:
Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That’s what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It’s real, though – the fury, even when it isn’t. It can change you, turn you, mold you and shape you into something you’re not. The only upside to anger, then is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they’re not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm. Then again, what do I know? I’m only a child.