THE UPSIDE – A Review by Hollywood Hernandez
The Upside is a remake of a French film and it’s based on the true story of a wealthy quadriplegic and his caregiver. The first time I saw the film, and I’ve seen it many times since, I couldn’t help but imagine what two American actors could play the parts in an English version of the film. The actors end up being the comedic superstar, Kevin Hart, and Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad. On camera together the two have great chemistry. Nicole Kidman is also in the movie as Phillip’s (Cranston) executive assistant. She’s a stodgy Harvard graduate and she runs the day-to-day affairs of the house. She immediately takes a disliking to Dell (Hart) who was never looking for a job. He just needed three signatures for his parole officer to show he’s been looking for work.
Judging the film on its own merit, it is a very funny and tender story about two men from different backgrounds who become friends. Phillip has a love for opera, which Dell learns to appreciate and Dell tries to get Phillip to play some of his music from his favorite artist, Aretha Franklin. Together the two men learn a lot about the worlds that the men come from. The movie reminds me a lot of the award-winning movie Green Book, which is my favorite movie of 2018.
Hart takes it to another level in The Upside with the best performance of his career. Of course, he’s funny, but he also shows another side of his character who spent time with his own father in prison. Now he wants to do better for his son and be a more responsible husband to his wife, who’s never received any financial help from Dell. Amazingly, Hart shows some real skills as an actor. Hopefully, we’ll see more quality roles for Hart in the future.
Also, I thought there were a few minor flaws in the film. Phillip meets a woman in person that he’s only been writing letters to previously. That storyline seemed a bit incomplete. And other than her role as the head of the house, they don’t go into much the depth of Kidman’s character. In the French version of the movie, she was a lesbian but it seems like in the “Americanized” version of the film the movie company obviously wanted a PG-13 version so that part is completely left out. I enjoyed the early character development of the two lead actors, but it seemed to me that the movie could have done better showing the lives of the two main female characters. Perhaps they just ran out of time.
The movie has a run time of just over 2 hours and on my “Hollywood Popcorn Scale” I rate The Upside a JUMBO!