Family Review: THE UPSIDE is a Beautiful Tale of Compassion; Earns the PG-133 min read

By Trina Boice


Kevin Hart plays an ex-con who gets hired by Bryan Cranston’s character, who is a rich quadriplegic needing assistance. The unlikely pair have much to learn from one another and develop a lasting friendship and respect that still exists today…in other words, it’s based on a heart-warming true story! It’s also a remake of a French movie called Intouchables, which was the most successful French film in history in several European countries. 


I LOVED it! It’s uplifting, heart-warming, funny, and charming at times. You might even get a little teary-eyed. Sure, there are some plausibility holes in the story, despite it being based on true events. In the end, you feel good and you want to do something good for someone. 

The acting in the film is good all around. If you usually don’t like Kevin Hart because he plays the same  screaming character in every movie, you might actually enjoy him in this movie. He did very well with the drama and, of course, shined when he needed to with his comedic chops. He and Bryan Cranston have great chemistry together. Bryan Cranston. Nicole Kidman is fantastic. Aja Naomi King brought impressive depth to her role. I loved the way Julianna Margulies’ character explained the Shel Silverstein book The Missing Piece What a great metaphor in this movie, to which Bryan Cranston's character replies “That's really deep for a children's book.” The film tackles difficult subjects like the death of a loved one, a single mother dealing with a dead-beat dad, paralysis, race, wealth, trust, hope and even love. While some might feel it leans toward preachy, I found it light and inspiring.


There are a couple of scenes that involve changing a quadriplegic's catheter and all of the humor and awkwardness you would expect that would include. There is profanity a few times, including 1 F-bomb. Two men get high on marijuana and there is some alcohol consumption in a few scenes. You see a tatted-up Kevin Hart without a shirt on. There is a brief expression on a woman’s face who is…ummm…enjoying being in bed with her husband, as well as some talk about a “blue” pill and what happens. Two men spend time with prostitutes and there is talk of pornography in a couple of scenes.


Second chances, the pain of losing a loved one, the limits of wealth in bringing happiness, economic barriers, race, friendship, hope.

Another beautiful film about friendship with the ill and afflicted is Patch Adams. We highly recommend it. Rent or buy it here

Trina Boice is an author of 23 books and teaches online for BYU-Idaho in the Pathway program.  She received the Young Mother of the Year honor in 2004, an award that completely amuses her 4 sons. She’s a popular international speaker in China and writes movie reviews at You can find her books on Amazon, and at

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