*Semi Spoiler Alert*
Movies that have a main character who is paralyzed is rare. In my six years of experience, I’ve only seen one movie that reflected a quadriplegic’s life and it landed on my “don’t ever watch this again” list. If you don’t know, the movie was titled, “Me Before You.” Now, it was not placed on that list because of bad acting or anything of that sort, it was because of the ending. I don’t believe the way to show the depths of your sacrificial love is by killing yourself. One good thing is that the movie did reflect certain elements of a quadriplegic’s life. For example, he had an episode of autonomic dysreflexia which can be life-threatening medical emergency if it is not resolved. That’s a huge part of our life that the public most likely has never heard of.
OK, sorry for that tangent I’ll get to the review of The Upside.
When I saw the previews for The Upside I was automatically intrigued, I even shared the preview of it on my Facebook page. This very rich and successful man has a tragic accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He cannot move anything, not even his hands. He has a new life in a wheelchair and is completely dependent on caretakers. I don’t have the same injury level, but I can understand how frustrating it is to be dependent on people for simple tasks. Since I am slightly like this disability and have many friends who are paralyzed from the neck down, I was interested to see how this role was portrayed.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is this, you can’t expect it to be perfect, there will be certain elements that should happen differently. For example, as Phillip (played by Bryan Cranston) is riding passenger with Dell (played by Kevin Hart) as the driver there would have been a 90% chance (that’s my personal guesstimate) he would’ve lost his balance and slid sideways or forward- even if he was strapped around the chest. Another element is that I wish the character had a quad belly and showed his muscle spasms. But, like I said, don’t expect every scene to perfectly reflect a quadriplegics life.
I believe the biggest impact this story told was that you can still live a full life after a tragic accident. It takes time but it also takes the right support. Surround yourself with a good support system or find that one person who doesn’t limit your relationship to your disabilities. Dell knew Phillip was in a wheelchair but still managed to transfer Phillip into his normal car and sitting in the passenger seat as a normal person. He didn’t baby him or treat him less than.
It’s the people around you that effect the trajectory of your life, no matter your circumstances. I highly recommend anyone to watch this movie. It’s humorous, cute, funny, sad, and optimistic. It’s worth your time and I hope it provides a little bit of insight into a quadriplegic’s life.
Check out a quick trailer here: