Wilson (Woody Harrelson) is a grump and a misanthrope. He has no social filter or skills or clue. He’s just out in the world, spitting old man vitriol. His neuroses aren’t great company and his acidic “honesty” doesn’t do much to help with the loneliness.

But then he gets a chance to reconnect with his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern), and he finds out that they share a daughter, given up for adoption 16 years ago. This ready-made MV5BMDU0ODI3ODAtMmYxYi00Yzk3LThlNDAtNGRiZjI1MDRiMzgwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg2MjUxNjM@._V1_SX667_CR0,0,667,999_AL_family appeals to him greatly, though his fantasy diverges quite archly from the reality. And because life isn’t fair, this grown-ass man gets to wreak havoc on the lives of not one but two women in order to finally grow up himself.

Woody Harrelson is an utter delight. Wilson should by all rights be detestable, and yet Harrelson makes our time with him enjoyable. Unfortunately, his great performance is just about the only thing this movie has going for it. It’s not that interesting or concerned with plot or momentum. Is Woody enough? For me, yes. I don’t regret watching Wilson. Harrelson finds humanity and humour in the awkwardness. And Dern’s not a bad counterpoint as a former party girl trying to turn her life straight. They’re a complete fucking train-wreck as far as couples go and completely unprepared to host a houseplant for the weekend let alone a teenage daughter, but by all means, let’s eavesdrop on their bold but bewilderingly inept stab at playing adults.

I suspect director Craig Johnson didn’t quite know what to do with what he had. The film feels a bit episodic and the shtick gets stale after a while. Full credit to Harrelson for making Wilson just charismatic enough to keep us watching. Otherwise, Johnson would have easily lost us with his generous seasoning of sentimentality and a lackluster finale.




19 thoughts on “Wilson

  1. apesdontreadphilosophyblog

    Woody Harrelson is very underrated. I recently saw another movie about a crotchety old man released this year called Lucky. Really old man, in his 90s. Harry Dean Stanton is awesome in it. Why do I like movies about grumpy old dudes? I think it might be my secret hope to make it to the age in life where I just don’t give a shit and say what I want all the time.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. tubularsock

    Now Tubularsock is just plain tired of old-fucked-up-men, trying to make it with
    blond-women but from the photo in your blog the dog’s cute.

    Tubularsock isn’t well versed in which actor is which and goes to a movie to get away for a moment from the fantasy story in which we live. But hell, as long as the small popcorn, that could feed a Vietnamese village for a month, is good, Tubularsock is there!

    I’ll miss this one, thanks to your insights herein. Thanks Jay.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mr. Bobinsky

    Ah I just love Harrelson and with years he proves to be incredibly versatile. It’s strange that Tarantino didn’t call him in any of his movie as he is exactly the type that’s brilliant in dialogues (but not only).

    Definitely will watch Wilson!


  4. ridicuryder


    It might be fun to list 10 movies featuring weird/grumpy old guys (The Royal Tenenbaums come to mind) so that thirty/fortysomething dudes have some examples of worse case scenarios, An accompanying guidebook describing characters neurosis/addictions/diagnosis/narcissistic traits might help steer some people onto a more fulfilling life path. Hell, you could probably develop this as a college course with an accompanying study on women souring their lives.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. ridicuryder

        Mr. Bobinsky,

        There’s so much rich Dysfunction out there…maybe going to a Dirty Dozen movies per semester would make sense. But I’m hesitant to double up on features by the same director, I think Craven hit it out of the park with Weird old guy on Tenenbaums….


        Liked by 1 person

  5. J.

    I’m very interested in this one. I was expecting it to be a bit mnah, given the story, but Harrelson is worth watching. He’s a captivating chap.



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