“Life can be a difficult business.”
Honest, blunt and somewhat unaware, Wilson has an unusual way about getting and sharing information. Never one to shy away from a conversation, he comes from a pure place, always hoping and looking for the best in people - even if other people don’t see the world in the same light.
Wilson possesses a particular tone as director Craig Johnson works to navigate the ups and downs of his central character. Harrelson, who impeccably delivers a socially improper man, gives audiences a man beaming with good intentions. His interactions with his costars are natural, authentic and wholesome, offering up a number of serene yet harsh encounters.
When his father dies, its sets in motion an intense course of events that ultimately reunites him with his lost love, Pippi, a once badass chick who is working to transform herself into a wholesome woman. It is at this time that Wilson learns that the child he thought she aborted was actually given up for adoption. And what’s better, she just happens to live in town.
When the three meet up and form an odd clan, it takes Wilson in a new direction. Forgoing its coming-of-age roots, the film transcends into a family comedy of sorts as they mock the clichés of normalcy and offer up a millennial take on blended family.
Though Harrelson is the star of the show, both Laura Dern and Cheryl Hines make lasting impressions as Pippi and her sister Poppy. A brutal fight scene comes off as primal, building a stronger understanding of Wilson’s attraction to his former love and allowing us all to interpret the meaning behind the narrative.
Adapted from Daniel Clowes graphic novel, Wilson is a character study that makes you laugh. Harrelson brings his purity to the role as he gives us someone equal parts masterful and vulnerable, ultimately transforming the story into one of heartbreak, redemption and laughs. Even when our title character finds himself locked in a maximum security prison he reconstructs his cellmates into kind hearted men. And on the outside, the always lovable Judy Greer provides the perfect counterbalance to the man we’ve grown to love.
Wilson isn’t a perfect film. In reality, its far from it. And though the story loses its own bearing on reality just a few minutes in, its the absurdity and randomness that gives it its heart. And with Greer waiting in the wings, the film gets its fairytale ending after all, even if Wilson himself would mock the path it took to get there.