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Wilson (2017) - DVD

4 stars

This is the story of a man who says just about everything that comes into his head. Wilson is a brutally honest middle-aged misanthrope (Woody Harrelson) who longs for a family, after friends move away and his father’s death leaves him all alone. Luckily it turns out he has a long-lost daughter, put up for adoption years earlier by his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern). So he tracks down his ex-wife and stalks his now-teenage daughter. Amazingly, he somehow manages to turn the three of them into a pseudo-family for a short time, until the girl’s adoptive parents step in and he winds up in prison on kidnapping charges: “Thirty-six months hard time with the lowest scum imaginable. But I made it out the other end,” he later tells a fellow bus passenger before adding, “Insert ass-rape joke here.”

Wilson is based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, who also wrote the screenplay. Both the film and book are full of dark humor, in the form of the main character’s outlook and mostly vain efforts to connect meaningfully with other people. Among his attempts: causing a fender bender to get a woman’s phone number; striking up an inappropriately personal conversation with a stranger at the next urinal; scaring away a nanny and her kids from a park; etc. The only people who “get” him are Pippi and his girlfriend Shelly (Judy Greer). Even in their cases, the viewer wonders how they put up with him.

Like in the graphic novel, the character of Pippi isn’t fully explored. For someone who claims to have spent years hating Wilson, she falls back into his arms (and bed) with shocking ease. It’s also unclear why she goes from vehemently opposing to going along with Wilson’s plan to bring their daughter Claire (Isabella Amara) back into their lives. The story could have benefitted from fleshing out Pippi’s character and motives more.

As it is, Wilson is at its best when it shows how other people interact with the blunt, oddball protagonist. Here the supporting actors are especially strong. Margo Martindale is perfect as a potential love interest (without much potential). Cheryl Hines is also believable as Pippi’s squeaky clean, holier-than-thou sister, and Isabella Amara convincingly plays Claire as a misfit teenage goth who finds her encounters with Wilson enlightening: “I always wondered how I got like this.”

Woody Harrelson, though, is the real star and looks just like the graphic novel version of his character. Wilson may be obnoxious, but he’s also funny and memorable.


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Wilson (2017) - DVD

MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and some sexuality.
94 mins
: Craig Johnson
Daniel Clowes
Woody Harrelson, Sandy Oian-Thomas, Shaun Brown
Genre: Comedy | Drama
He's a people person.
Memorable Movie Quote: "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."
Theatrical Distributor:
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Official Site: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/wilson/
Release Date:
March 24, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 20, 2017
Synopsis: A lonely, neurotic and hilariously honest middle-aged man reunites with his estranged wife and meets his teenage daughter for the first time.


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Wilson (2017) - DVD


DVD Details:

Home Video Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Available on Blu-ray
- June 20, 2017
Screen Formats: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen; 1.85:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Dubbed: French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: DVD; Single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A



  • none

Special Features:

  • 15 deleted scenes. Some of these will sound familiar to readers of the graphic novel. They’re mildly amusing but don’t add much to the plot
  • Promotional Materials: Who is Wilson?; Strip to Screen; The Women of Wilson. Of the three, I appreciated The Women of Wilson the most, as it gave the female characters a little more welcome recognition.

  • Gallery: A series of still images from the filming of the movie.

  • Theatrical Trailers: Red band trailer and theatrical trailer.

  • Sneak Peek: Discover digital HD; Table 19; Absolutely Fabulous, the Movi


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Wilson (2017) - DVD