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Review: Wilson

Woody Harrelson as "Wilson" in Fox Searchlight's WILSON

Whether they end up being good, bad or somewhere in between, movies are supposed to entertain and tell a story. This is a clear premise that just about everyone on the planet can understand. With people who actually make films, you would think creating something that follows these rules would at least be able to tell a coherent story, but that isn’t always the case. In this review of Wilson, I’ll touch on that while speaking on why this particular picture fails to impress in various ways.

I guess making a movie about something like this is risky in the first place. Wilson is based on a graphic novel (believe it or not) that follows the titular character played by Woody Harrelson. The veteran actor stars a man who is lonely and can’t seem to understand why. The reason is obviously because he’s just not a decent person in the slightest, but we’ll pretend that him not knowing this is even remotely plausible.

While some people are unaware of similar flaws they may have in real life, Wilson has a set of flaws that are simply unbelievable. As a matter of fact, it would be hard to see how anyone could stay around him long enough to want to marry him. The film expects us to believe that this was at all possible. We’re also supposed to believe that he and his ex-wife (played by Laura Dern) had a kid years ago that she hid from him and put up for adoption.

With these actors, we have a few solid performances in Wilson that are being showcased throughout its duration. I’ve always seen the likes of Woody Harrelson as being underrated when comparing him to others in his field, so his ability to put on a nice performance here comes as no shock. In this one, he’s literally in just about every scene, so it’s important to get actors who know what they’re doing in these instances.

It’s unfortunate that he either can’t get or can’t select better roles as a leading man. So far, he’s been good in what he’s had to work with, but none of it has been memorable or able to bring in even a modest audience. Wilson is no different in that sense, but the movie is also probably the worst one he’s been featured in as the primary focus.

The main problem that Wilson has is the structure of the movie itself. There’s a great deal going on, but it feels as if nothing is actually happening. With the character being as negative and as unlikable as he is, I don’t know if we’re supposed to care about him, want him to succeed, or hope that he finds something resembling common sense. Regardless of what that answer is, there’s nothing in the movie that could make you interested in what the correct way of looking at all of this is.

While I don’t have absolute disdain for Wilson due mainly to the quality performance of Harrelson, it’s close to impossible to find something positive to say about it as a movie. In order for it to improve drastically, a large number of changes would be needed. Due to that clearly not being an option at this point, we get stuck with something that’s not saying much while trying to do too much.

If you ever decide to watch Wilson for some odd reason, you’ll know right away why it will ultimately fail in its attempt to satisfy the majority of the small audience who may one day watch it. I wish I could at least give you a reason to watch it, but there simply aren’t any. In cases like this, it’s best to just avoid it all together or do your best to forget that you ever saw it.

Rating: R

Director: Craig Johnson

Woody Harrelson
Laura Dern
Judy Greer
Cheryl Hines
Isabella Amara

Film Length: 101 minutes

Release Date: March 24, 2017

Distributor: Fox Searchlight

  • Score - 2/10
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