Based on a true story, The Upside is a film that is both unexpectedly hilarious yet humbling. Bryan Cranston plays a wealthy quadriplegic named Phillip and Kevin Hart is his caretaker, Dell. Both Cranston and Hart are an unstoppable duo on screen. The duo are no strangers to comedy which makes their interactions more genuine and comical. Their endearing relationship gives you hope for humanity. Alongside the serious moments, the comedy is well written and delivered with perfection.
The acting is great; the relationship between Dell and Phillip in the film seems genuine and playful. The actors are able to portray the writing in a beautiful way that exposes a different aspect of the relationship Dell and Phillip have (they are still friends to this day). In a way, both of the characters are outcasts of society; Phillip as a quadriplegic doesn’t often receive the respect he should, even in small interactions; Dell has a similar experience being formerly incarcerated and now looking for a job. Their relationship builds off of their differences and in result of their friendship growing, they come to find that they are very similar. This development alone is one of my favorite aspects of the film and it is the first reason to go and see The Upside. Cranston and Hart lead the film with great acting but one cannot overlook the talented performances of Nicole Kidman and Golshifteh Farahani as supporting actors as well.
The second reason to go see the film is for the writing, the comedy is innovative and edgy, especially with the quips that Dell and Phillip throw at each other. I found that some of the humor is so awkward and cringe-worthy, you can’t help but laugh. The comedy delivered through the acting carries the film as Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart truly have a positive chemistry which makes it even better. Together the duo forces the audience to experience every emotion they’re experiencing, and they don’t hold anything back. Both of the characters go through significant change with each other and it is a beautiful process to see.
Alongside the writing and acting, the camera work is lovely and even whimsical. The director of photography, Stuart Dryburgh captures the film in a significant way; at times the cinematography reminded me of a painting, especially when the visuals are paired with dramatic moments. The director uses a technique with the cinematographer to expose bits and pieces of Phillip’s past through imaginative visual representations in a way that’s well executed. Joined with the drama and comedy within the film, the cinematography allows space when it is needed, the breathtaking shots are peaceful and meditative; it is almost as if the audience is supposed to feel the peace the characters do. These small decisions of the director and cinematographer makes the film stunning in a unique way.
Overall The Upside is great, it forces the audience to think differently about how to treat the outcasts of society and how much we take for granted on a day to day basis. If you wish to see a film that is action packed with explosions, this is not the film for you. However, if you wish to view the world differently and open your mind to new perspectives, this is a wonderful film to watch. I highly recommend this film if you are familiar with the actors, they certainly hold true to their acting reputations. See The Upside in theaters while you still can, the lovely visuals are made to be seen on a big screen.