Music travels with us throughout our lives. It makes the world go round. For many, it is a lifesaver, gateway to the soul and makes up the soundtrack of our lives. Like the great reggae artist, Bob Marley so eloquently says, “When the beat hits, you feel no pain.”
This brings me to the recent release of ‘The Upside‘ a comedy-drama starring funny guy Kevin Hart taking a spin at a serious role opposite thespian Bryan Cranston and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman. The movie which features the music of late music icon, Aretha Franklin is a remake of the 2011 French movie, ‘The Intouchables’ which starred Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet. In this American remake, the concept is kept pretty much the same but lacks the full-on heartwarming charm and inspiration that the French version exuded thanks in parts to Sy. The movie, based on a true story, tells the story of two men from different backgrounds culturally and financially, who change each other lives for the better. Hart plays Dell, an ex-con out on parole hired as the caretaker of Phillip (Cranston), a billionaire and quadriplegic, the result of a paragliding accident. Kidman plays Phillip’s assistant.
The movie is the first comedy-drama released for 2019. That it includes a soundtrack featuring the music of the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin who passed away in August of 2018 will definitely lend to getting lots of music fans talking and filling theater seats. I had the opportunity to attend a recent screening in New York City, given by the MOMS .
Aretha’s musical chords are woven perfectly into scenes. Hart himself even gives it a go, with a comedic spin, of course, singing on the much beloved “Think”. Four of Franklin’s songs appear on the movie’s soundtrack, each song adding flair to the storyline, like when Dell is overcome with his appreciation of classical music while attending the opera alongside Phillip and hearing Nessun Dorma sung superbly by the Queen of Soul.
Surprisingly, taking the #1 Weekend Box Office opening position away from front runner ‘Aquaman‘ which is holding high with billion dollar sales worldwide, ‘The Upside’ on its Jan 11-13 opening weekend cemented itself to the list of movies featuring Aretha’s music that went on to become memorable.
Like I said music makes everything better. I felt that the music saved the ‘Upside.’ The movie could definitely have been better. If I had to watch the movie again I would probably opt for the French version as Hart and Cranston didn’t fully click like Sy and Cluzet. The movie did showcase that if given more opportunities Kevin Hart should really try dipping into more dramatic roles but without the funny. Finally, I would also ask Hollywood to stop going back to that old drawing board script that depicts black male characters as ex-cons, dead beat dads or not privy to a socially elite lifestyle.
With that being said out of 10 popcorn bowls The Upside gets 5
Want to check out ‘The Upside’ movie soundtrack take a listen here at the website Lyric Soundtrack.
Want to see the 2012 French version ‘The Intouchables’ which starred Omar Sy as the lovable Driss a down and outer from the projects of Paris and Francois Cluzet playing the role of Phillipe. Watch here
by Debra Lewis-Boothman