Review: Wilson

Score: B+

Director: Craig Johnson

Cast: Woody Harrelson, Isabella Amara, Laura Dern, Judy Greer, Cheryl Hines

Running Time: 94 Minutes


“Life can be a difficult business.”

Honest, blunt and somewhat unaware, Wilson has an unusual way about getting and sharing information.  Never one to shy away from a conversation, he comes from a pure place, always hoping and looking for the best in people - even if other people don’t see the world in the same light.

Wilson possesses a particular tone as director Craig Johnson works to navigate the ups and downs of his central character.  Harrelson, who impeccably delivers a socially improper man, gives audiences a man beaming with good intentions.  His interactions with his costars are natural, authentic and wholesome, offering up a number of serene yet harsh encounters.

When his father dies, its sets in motion an intense course of events that ultimately reunites him with his lost love, Pippi, a once badass chick who is working to transform herself into a wholesome woman.  It is at this time that Wilson learns that the child he thought she aborted was actually given up for adoption.  And what’s better, she just happens to live in town.

When the three meet up and form an odd clan, it takes Wilson in a new direction. Forgoing its coming-of-age roots, the film transcends into a family comedy of sorts as they mock the clichés of normalcy and offer up a millennial take on blended family.

Though Harrelson is the star of the show, both Laura Dern and Cheryl Hines make lasting impressions as Pippi and her sister Poppy.  A brutal fight scene comes off as primal, building a stronger understanding of Wilson’s attraction to his former love and allowing us all to interpret the meaning behind the narrative.

Adapted from Daniel Clowes graphic novel, Wilson is a character study that makes you laugh.  Harrelson brings his purity to the role as he gives us someone equal parts masterful and vulnerable, ultimately transforming the story into one of heartbreak, redemption and laughs.  Even when our title character finds himself locked in a maximum security prison he reconstructs his cellmates into kind hearted men.  And on the outside, the always lovable Judy Greer provides the perfect counterbalance to the man we’ve grown to love.

Wilson isn’t a perfect film.  In reality, its far from it.  And though the story loses its own bearing on reality just a few minutes in, its the absurdity and randomness that gives it its heart.  And with Greer waiting in the wings, the film gets its fairytale ending after all, even if Wilson himself would mock the path it took to get there.


About Stephen Davis

Stephen Davis
I owe this hobby/career to the one and only Stephanie Peterman who, while interning at Fox, told me that I had too many opinions and irrelevant information to keep it all bottled up inside. I survived my first rated R film, Alive, at the ripe age of 8, it took me months to grasp the fact that Julia Roberts actually died at the end of Steel Magnolias, and I might be the only person alive who actually enjoyed Sorority Row…for its comedic value of course. While my friends can drink you under the table, I can outwatch you when it comes iconic, yet horrid 80s films like Adventures in Babysitting and Troop Beverly Hills. I have no shame when it comes to what I like, and if you have a problem with that, then we’ll settle it on the racquetball court. I see too many movies to actually win any film trivia contest, so don’t waste your first pick on me. My friends rent movies from my bookcase shelves, and one day I do plan to start charging. I long to live in LA, where my movie obsession will actually help me fit in, but for now I am content with my home in Austin. I prefer indies to blockbusters, Longhorns to Sooners and Halloween to Friday the 13th. I miss the classics, as well as John Ritter, and I hope to one day sit down and interview the amazing Kate Winslet.

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