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Non-Review Review: The Upside

The Upside doesn’t work.

From the outset, it is very clear what The Upside wants to be. This a movie that aspires towards a broad feel-good mood. Perhaps its closest companion in this particular awards cycle is Green Book. It is easy to be cynical about such films, and it is particularly easy to be cynical about The Upside. The film’s delayed release is not the result of a studio desperately holding a hidden gem until late in awards season, this is a would-be crowd pleaser pried from the cold dead hands of the Weinstein Company.

Hart to heart.

Everything in The Upside seems designed to guide an audience on an emotionally uplifting journey, a story of two characters from very different circumstances brought together so that each might elevate the other. All of the big moments in The Upside are no so much telegraphed as broadcast, the volume turned up to eleven. Characters scream and shout, at both each other and the world around them. Catharsis isn’t just sought, it is amplified. There is no moment at which The Upside leaves the audience in any doubt about what they should feel.

The result is a clumsy and awkward piece of cinema that constantly trips over itself, repeatedly undermining anything meaningful or significant that it might have to say about either of its two central characters.

“So, what is The Upside here?”

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Non-Review Review: Limitless

Limitless has an epiphany about half-way through its runtime. We follow our lead, Eddie, as he discovers a miracle drug which manages to somehow make you a genius (he boasts he has “a four-digit IQ”). However, he is stunned to discover that coming off the drug isn’t exactly pretty. Those who haven’t given up have all died. He meets a survivor in a small café, where she recounts how wonderful the experience of using the drug was, but how hallow life seemed afterwards. Having tasted that sort of greatness, she relates how the world seemed boring afterwards, she couldn’t focus and nothing could hold her attention for more than ten minutes. She seems to have been speaking on behalf of the film.

It's all falling into place...

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