“I know about his past. I’m more interested in his present.”
This sentiment is one of the main themes of Neil Burger’s 2018 film “The Upside.” In the film, a comedy-drama based on true events, Dell Scott (Kevin Hart) finds himself in desperate need of a job in order to continue his parole and reconnect with his son. In his search for signatures for a parole form, he ends up accidentally stumbling upon a job offered by Philip Lacasse (Bryan Cranston). Philip is a quadriplegic millionaire who became paralyzed in a hang gliding accident and is in need of a caretaker to assist him in everyday matters. The two seem pretty different, don’t they?
Even so, Philip decides to offer the job to Dell as a joke in order to annoy his assistant. Out of all the candidates, Dell is, by far, the least qualified for the task. It turns out to be a good idea, however.
Philip and Dell are able to teach important aspects of life to one another; Dell knows how to live life to the fullest and has many incredible experiences he is willing to share, and Philip knows how to become financially successful. The pair are able to put their social and economic differences aside in order to work together for their mutual benefit.
Dell is an ex-con who faces issues of custody with his son, as well as struggles to provide enough money for himself, let alone his family.
Philip, on the other side of the spectrum, is a millionaire who has earned his living through entrepreneurship and lives in luxury, able to afford anything and everything he desires, with little to no issues in his personal life. Philip is also very accepting of Dell’s background. By accepting each other, Dell and Philip are able to grow close and trade their knowledge, therefore being able to grow together as people.
But what else does the movie teach us other than the fact that people who lead very different lives are kept separate by society?
Philip and Dell are able to meet each other on the same level in order to effectively develop a meaningful connection. For example, Dell has trouble using certain technology in Philip’s house because he has never had access to such things before. Similarly, Philip has a harder time interacting casually in public because he has
always attended formal events for people similar to him. Both characters are able to push these differences aside and accept each other as they are to grow as human beings.
In addition to its deep and meaningful themes, “The Upside” is also a comedy and has some really funny scenes suitable for the whole family. It is also based on a true story, and can prove a useful movie to watch in order to better learn about the late 20th century. Overall, the movie “The Upside” provides a movie that is both comedic and family-friendly, as well as one that can be studied to show how people of different social statuses and abilities interact.