Film Review – Wilson (2017)

Title – Wilson (2017)

Director – Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins)

Cast – Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Isabella Amara

Plot – After the death of his father, lonely Wilson (Harrelson) tries to reconnect with his ex-wife Pippi (Dern) only to find out that he has a daughter he never knew he had, giving Wilson a whole new perspective on his one-dimensional life.

“We all want people to love us for exactly who we are but that’s not really possible in this world because we just all too unbearable”

Review by Eddie on 11/04/2018

Based on a relatively low-key graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, Wilson is a frustrating black comedy that can’t quite come up with the goods to match its leading man Woody Harrelson.

In one of his best roles since True Detective and delivering his best big screen turn since he rolled out the cowboy hat for Zombieland in 2009, Woody Harrelson is a delight as the cantankerous, rude, obnoxious and somehow likeable Wilson.

A perennial loser who just doesn’t get why everyone around him is an idiot and can’t quite bring himself to adapt to modern day life, you wouldn’t call the character of Wilson a stretch for Harrelson to play but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Harrelson completely nails his turn.

It’s a joy (often cringeworthily so) watching Harrelson interact with actors like Laura Dern, Judy Greer and Margo Martindale and as Wilson begins to gather a greater appreciation for life after he finds out he has a teenage daughter and realises he needs love and friendship in his world, Harrelson is up for the journey but sadly Craig Johnson’s film isn’t.

Working alongside Wilson creator Clowes, Johnson has a tough time balancing the films tonal shifts between oddball comedy, life affirming drama and romantically tinged musings and it often feels like the film is uncomfortable in its own skin as we’re taken along from scene to scene and scenarios that worked in the graphic novel don’t quite come across as well in the film treatment.

We never full connect to Wilson and his relationship with Dern’s ex-wife Pippi or his burgeoning friendship with Isabella Amara as his estranged daughter Claire, which makes a large portion of the films middle-section feel rather so-so. The other issue is that while the film often is laugh out loud funny, there is a large percentage of the films jokes that don’t hit the way they should, making the film at times awkward when it wasn’t even aiming to be.

Final Say –

Wilson is a slight film, a small-scale character study of a man who’s failed to see the meaning of life for many a moon and while Harrelson is brilliant in a role he could undoubtedly play in his sleep, the film around him just never clicks into a gear that would’ve made this tale something truly special.

2 ½ amusement park rides out of 5

4 responses to “Film Review – Wilson (2017)

  1. I really like Woody Harrelson and I thought the director’s previous effort “The Skeleton Twins” was an excellent movie, but this film seemed to get pretty bad reviews overall so I didn’t get all that interested in it. Great review!

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