The Softer Side of Wilson Doesn’t Sell As Well

Director Craig Johnson employs a softer touch to Wilson the movie than Daniel Clowes’ original graphic novel of the same name even though Clowes wrote the screenplay as well.

Woody Harrelson plays the title character, Wilson, who learns that his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern) gave up their daughter Claire (Isabella Amara) for adoption unbeknownst to him.

The movie succeeds largely on the strength of the performances by the wonderful cast of Woody Harrelson, Laura Dern, Cheryl Hines, Judy Greer, and Isabella Amara.

While the character of Wilson in the graphic novel is caustic to his core, Harrelson’s Wilson as directed by Johnson is more of a character stuck in the eighties. Wilson never adapted to technological advances such as cell phones and computers and delights in interrupting all of humanity who uses such things. Its’s Wilson’s view that all of society is disconnected from each other due to social media, Google, and even Yelp. The truth is maybe he’s right to a degree, but he forces his extreme need to connect on everyone.

Laura Dern’s Pippi is the object of his desperate need to connect with society and another human. Pippi is on thin ice in life as she is a recovering drug addict and ex-prostitute. Once Pippi tells Wilson about their daughter, he of course has to stalk her and meet her. A lot of credit goes to Isabella Amara’s as she pulls off a great performance infusing the DNA of Wilson’s frankness and Pippi’s struggling.

More happens in the film, but things slowly start to get a bit brighter in an odd sort of way while remaining true to the characters. I would have to give the movie a C+. While it is an enjoyable mix of drama and comedy, it just doesn’t seem to really leave much of a lasting impression. While that may be okay for a popcorn big blockbuster action movie, it doesn’t seem to match this character study.

Starneslord’s Final Grade: C+

About Matt Starnes 12 Articles
Matt is the dubious leader of the Guardians of the Geekery (official podcast of The Charlotte Geeks) and is known to rock the mic from way back – both while at Appalachian University as well as on various stations here in Charlotte. Writer of several comics including the creation of Leather Jacket Guy, his fandoms include Star Wars, The Walking Dead, Spiderman, and the Marvel and DC Universes. To find out more, visit him at