Harrelson stars as Wilson, a lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged misanthrope who reunites with his estranged wife (Laura Dern) and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter (Isabella Amara) he has never met. In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, he sets out to connect with her.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The film being advertised at the theater, Umberto D. (1952), is a drama about the disadvantages of an elderly man and his dog, semi-similar to this film. See more »
We all want people to love us for exactly who we are but that's not really possible in this world because we're just all too unbearable. You know, we gotta make the best of what we have.
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A film about Wilson the Volleyball would have been better
Wilson is the "feel good comedy of the year" filled with interesting characters, quirky places and anchored by a strong, unique and Oscar-worthy performance by Woody Harrelson.
What a mess this movie is. It tries so hard to be a "quirky comedy" that it focuses all of it's attention on the quirk and very little on what makes quirky comedies work - the characters.
Let's start with the biggest problem with this film - the central performance of Woody Harrelson as the titular Wilson. When we first see him, he is a "get off my lawn" grumpy old man. In the next scene, he is an inappropriate "close talker", in the next it seems he has no filter. In the next, he has a childlike wonder. All of these adds up to various "quirks" of the character, but none of them equal a character. What they do is confuse the audience as to what kind of character they are watching. So when Wilson finally has the heart-breaking moment that will change him - we are left to wonder if he is changed for the better, or the worse or is he even changed. And I concluded with the worst comment of all...
I don't care.
This film is based on a graphic novel and a screenplay by Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) and the Direction is by Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins) - both of whom has done good work in the past, but this just isn't. The direction is all over the board bouncing from comedy to drama, but mostly landing in some mediocre middle area between the two, which drains the emotion from the proceedings. Writer Clowes must know this character in his head, and I'm sure it makes sense to him, but it sure didn't to me and this effort fails miserably.
There are some redeeming qualities, as the film is filled with strong performers in the supporting roles filled with the likes of Margot Martindale, Judy Greer, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Cheryl Hines, but they are on the screen all too briefly and I would have liked to have seen a film digging deeper into these characters (without Wilson). Only Laura Dern, as Wilson's ex-wife, acquits herself well. Her damaged, healing soul was the lone bright spot that made me sit up whenever she was on the screen.
This movie was filmed in the Twin Cities, so at least I had some fun picking out the locations on the screen. Unfortunately, the filmmakers, again, went for "quirky" so I become very cynical about what location was coming up next. I have the feeling the location scout was told to find "the odd, the weird and the quirky" in the Twin Cities. And, with that, they were successful.
Letter Grade: C-
3 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank (ofMarquis)
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