Two men, who are complete opposites, meet at an interview, and they immediately have a connection. Dell Scott and Phillip Lacasee are both facing hardship and loneliness. And then, very quickly, they begin building a relationship in the midst of their personal trials.
Dell, a black man, was recently released from prison and is searching for a job to provide for his son and his son’s mother and more importantly, to avoid going back to prison. Phillip, a white man, recently became quadriplegic in a hang-gliding accident just before losing his wife to cancer. Yvonne, Phillip’s assistant, begins searching for a new full-time caregiver for Phillip.
Enter Dell Scott.
These two men, different in almost way, need the same thing: relationship.
Flourishing in Relationship
What’s so relatable and captivating about the film is the journey from loneliness to friendship and relationship. So many of us feel isolated from the people around us, and the film gives an insightful peek at relationship development.
Dell and Phillip slowly begin to open to each other, sharing Dell’s fractured relationship with his father and immediate family and Phillip sharing his paralyzing accident and the loss of his wife. In the course of their relationship they begin to make each other laugh, this is significant because the film begins in such contrast, with both men expressing hopelessness in their faces.
Since Dell’s full-time caregiver position requires him to live in Phillip’s Penthouse, they end up living life alongside one other. Dell and Phillip spend a day together driving around and spending time with Dell’s son, Anthony. Upon returning to Phillip’s apartment, there is s a surprise birthday party for Phillip against his wishes. His anger is taken out on Yvonne and Dell, but Dell helps relieve and channel his anger by smashing some of his things. Because they spend all their time together, Dell knew how to help him and eventually guide Phillip into enjoying and celebrating at his birthday party.
Their relationship helps each person flourish into better versions of themselves. Dell begins to provide for his family and Phillip begins to treat others well and visibly enjoy his life. And that’s what relationship is supposed to do for us: help us flourish, be joyful, and take care of others.
More important an earthly relationship is our relationship with our God. As crucialas our relationships are to one another, our relationship with God is essential.
We Need a Restored Relationship
Our most important relationship is not with other people, not even our loved ones. Our most essential relationship is with our Creator, and all other relationships are to mirror it.
Our Creator, our God, made us for relationship. He made us to be representatives for him (Genesis 1:26-27) and he was in perfect relationship with us (Genesis 2). Then we messed it all up. We sinned against God and broke our perfect relationship with him (Genesis 3:1-7).
Since that moment all of mankind has had a fractured relationship with him. All people are sinful and no one naturally seeks him (Romans 3:9-12). We all instinctually know we don’t want God, so we find ways to keep him at a distance. We try to find substitutes for him, which never satisfy. Or we try to convince ourselves and others that he doesn’t exist. Either way, we have a broken relationship that needs restoration.
Jesus, born without sin and lived sinlessly, came down to each to be the sacrificial and atoning substitute for God’s people. He died the death we deserved (2 Corinthians 5:21). And Jesus rose from the grave three days after his death. He did all this to restore our relationship with God.
And, this is just adds onto how amazing this is: God chose those who believe to be adopted into his family (Ephesians 1:3-6), bringing us from infinitely far away from God and bringing us near through Jesus (Ephesians 2:12-13). If we’re in Christ, we were strangers to God, but through Christ, we are made family.
An Everlasting Relationship
Our restored relationship is not temporary. Our relationship with our Creator, God does not end in this life. Our restored relationship is an everlasting relationship.
In Revelation, God’s final authoritative words to the world, Jesus says that he will be our God and we will be his children when heaven meets earth (Revelation 21:7). Those who believe in him will have their restored relationship as sons and daughters last for all of eternity!
This everlasting relationship with God is not completely described in the book of Revelation, but what is said is glorious. Two amazing truths: all nations and tribes will be praising God in their native tongues (Revelation 7:9-10) and the glory and majesty of Jesus will replace the sun to receive and sustain life on the redeemed Earth (Revelation 21:23).
The Upside shows that we are made for relationship, but it also shows that we need something more than fractured and imperfect relationships. The good news is in that through Jesus we can have redeemed relationships with one another and a restored relationship with our Maker.