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Wilson Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline. FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest movies at the box office! With the most comfortable seats in the valley, you can feel right at home while tearing into a delicious Pizini pizza in your recliner!

I say this kind of often, but I had no clue what to expect from this movie. I really had no idea what to expect from Wilson because I didn’t even know it was coming out. I’m a big Woody Harrelson fan, and I still hadn’t seen a trailer when I walked into the theater to check this one out. Woody Harrelson is coming off The Edge of Seventeen which was one of my favorite movies of the year, so I’ll buy anything Harrelson is in right now. Let’s talk about Wilson!

Wilson is directed by Craig Johnson and stars Woody Harrelson as Wilson, a people person. Well, he’s sort of a people person. He likes to talk and interact with people, but he doesn’t always know his boundaries, and that can turn a few people off. He gets a bit lonely and decides to track down his ex-wife who left him while pregnant with a baby, but he hasn’t heard from her in quite a while, and she’s pretty tough to track down. Little does Wilson know, his ex-wife actually had the baby and placed her up for adoption, so the two decide to find their daughter and do their best to reenter her life.

I’ll start with the positives as always. I can’t think of a single movie with Woody Harrelson where he falls into the negative paragraph. In fact, even when I don’t love a film, or even particularly like it, I typically walk out thinking that Woody Harrelson gave me exactly what I wanted and did the absolute best he could with his character. That’s how I feel about Woody Harrelson in Wilson. I didn’t particularly love Wilson, but I walked out knowing that Woody Harrelson milked everything he could out of this role. Wilson doesn’t fit into society in any way, shape, or form, and what makes Harrelson so perfect for this character is that I can imagine him when I picture a man who doesn’t quite fit into the world. It’s not that Wilson hasn’t found a place; it’s that there is no place for Wilson, and Harrelson makes that aspect of the character work perfectly. He brings enough humanity while also blending in the perfect mix of oddity, so it ends up working as a nice combination. Sometimes R-rated movies force the R-rating when it might not have necessarily been needed. This feels like one of those times where F-words are thrown around in relatively odd scenarios, and they come out feeling forced and awkward. Harrelson was the only character who doesn’t make the swearing feel forced. Given, he has been doing this for a really long time, and arguably his only competition for the longest career and biggest name in the film is Laura Dern, but he’s still the only one who can make it seem like the writer and the director are on the same page. Most of the comedy that ends up working works solely because of Harrelson. Again, there’s some good material here, but it all feels so forced and unnatural when it’s not coming out of Wilson’s mouth. Woody Harrelson was in a league of his own in this one, and he absorbed a lot of weight on his shoulders.

Again, I didn’t really like this movie. I think it suffers from the same thing that I’m seeing a lot of Fox Searchlight films suffer from. It feels like a made-for-television movie. It has a television structure, television gags, and television-thin characters. A lot of the film is built on artificial wisdom. We’re introduced to this man who is an outsider and has nothing in common with the general population. It might even be possible that he had a mental disorder or is still affected by a memory that lingers in the back of his mind. Either way, they tried to take the simple character and give him wisdom. Instead of making us appreciate that the character has something valuable to offer the world, it comes off as artificial and paint-by-numbers. You’ve heard all of Wilson’s advice from every single person you’ve ever talked to, and it never makes me jump on board with the character. He’s kind of funny, and Woody Harrelson gives a good performance, but I didn’t like him. I didn’t hate him either, but he was just there. He was purely designed as a manifestation for jokes, and that’s all he has to him. By the time you begin to feel something for him it’s not even true emotion. I felt manipulated after watching Wilson, and it never invested me without making feel like I was being used.

Overall, Wilson may not seem like your typical film at first glance, but that’s mostly because it doesn’t really have a structure. It’s a grouping of random occurrences with a character who is designed only to bring jokes to life. Woody Harrelson is great as Wilson, but after that I struggled to find things that clicked and didn’t feel forced. It uses a simple character to trick the audience into thinking we’re being fed wisdom, but we aren’t. I never cared about the main character until the finale, and by then I only felt like I was being manipulated. Even though I love Woody Harrelson, I couldn’t see myself finding a reason to watch this movie again. I’m going to give Wilson a 4/10.

Will you be checking out Wilson? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse.

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm