As the coronavirus make its rounds I randomly chose this movie to ease my mind, and I’m here to say it wasn’t a bad choice. Picture Driving Miss Daisy or The Help with a few drops from The Pursuit of Happyness. That’s one way I can describe The Upside. But I almost didn’t like it for a minute. After a while you start noticing patterns with black characters and how they’re often portrayed, but the fact this was based on a true story is enough to set my feelings about that aside.
It flew under my radar so I missed its released date, but I did see the trailer and remember saying, “it’s about time a sci-fi movie with a majority black cast was put out.” On top of that it’s a thriller and mystery, which checks more genres I like.
Now to his credit, Kevin Hart showed he has some range as it’s not often you see him in these types of movies. His character (Dell) reminded me of someone I know and look up to, who made mistakes but overcame them and redeemed himself as a man. What took me by surprise however was this tale of a man (Philip) who we can say had it all but lost it in a matter of seconds. With that part of his life a faint memory, you see this man’s life take on a whole new meaning; one that was like a look in the mirror at times.
There were many parts I related with, including parts that got all too real. That’s what make The Upside a solid movie, and how it was all pieced together of course. To see Dell take the hero’s journey as he helps Philip see life in another light was worth it. I have many favorites but one in particular was seeing Dell use his money wisely. In the beginning Dell had nothing. Even though it was cold, his son’s mother (Latrice) gave us a hard look at him in the beginning, which was something he needed to hear. We all need someone like her who’ll keep us straight, take no shit, but reward us when we honor our obligations.. It’s this same theme we see play throughout the movie. Fast-forward to when Dell purchased the house for her and his son, I couldn’t help but hard clap in mind like I was Fortune from Rudy.
Philip on the other hand was someone that needed Dell but didn’t know it. At the same time there’s people like Dell who need a Philip to remind them of their potential while dropping a few gems along the way. Things got pretty heated at times between them, but what’s a story without tension?
Another favorite part of mine was seeing Philip over time. You saw many sides to his story. The pain he experienced, the anxiety of a new woman, the agony of his condition and desire to no longer live with it. Can you imagine being in his shoes? Even I can’t, but being surrounded by people who care was his luxury. Toward the end you saw how lost he became. He let himself go to the point he pushed those who cared for him away. But Dell was a stand up guy who snapped him back to reality. As I stated earlier, we need more people in our lives like that.