Updated: Sep 15, 2019
The Upside – 2017 – Comedy, Drama – Amazon Prime
I need to say this to start with – Kevin Hart can act, I mean he can really act. He isn’t just a comedy driven whirlwind playing vaguely annoying characters, he is a very good actor when he wants to be as well as a being good at comedy, which he has already proven (See Jumanji/Central Intelligence).
The film is based on a French film – The Intouchables, which in itself is based on the true life story of French businessman Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. Bryan Cranston is Phillip, a paralysed billionaire who employs Kevin Hart’s ex-con and grossly unqualified Dell as his care giver or ‘Life Auxiliary’ (there’s some really daft job titles out there!). He employs him because he gives him a bit of lip and doesn’t give a toss that he is paralysed. Nicole Kidman is Yvonne, Phillips assistant who just wants the best for him and as a good assistant is not entirely convinced that Dell is the way forward.
There is the usual Hollywood tosh about Dell’s estranged wife and child who he has let down one too many times, but see past this nonsense to the real crux of the film, the relationships between Phillip and Dell and Yvonne and you have a marvellously written and superbly acted drama with touches of light comedy that don’t come across as patronising(Shell thoughts on the matter) but add to the believable relationships.
Kevin Hart is superb as Dell, he can verge on the manic but generally hits the right balance. Nicole Kidman is very understated as Yvonne, which is what the character needed, and it was great to see such a Hollywood powerhouse not trying to overtake the film. Finally, Bryan Cranston portrays Phillip amazingly well, for an able-bodied actor to pull off a character who can only move their neck must be so difficult, but he tells the story through his facial expressions brilliantly.
And huge well done to Neil Burger, the director who treated a difficult subject with such a gentle touch and Jon Hartmere, who adapted the screen play.
The film is on Amazon Prime and I am disappointed that it did not get more press at the time, though reading up on it, it did pretty well at the box office – so yay to the cinema going public that are not me!
Watch it, watch it, watch it.
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