The Definition of Catharsis:
1. The purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
2. Psychiatry: Psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up, socially unacceptable effects. Discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition.
The definition of the word Catharsis is a very good summarization of what the movie Wilson is all about. Once you realize very early on that this film is about a man named Wilson, played by Woody Harrelson, whose entire life has been a disaster, you start to wonder if a story about a person like this could ever be funny. Perhaps this could be possible, but Wilson fails to be funny often enough to conclude that it is not really a comedy movie or a very good movie either. Perhaps if Wilson was made more of a likable person, this movie would have been more entertaining and engaging or even funny, but far too often Wilson just bothers people, many of them total strangers and engages in rude conversations with everybody he encounters to perhaps temporarily make himself feel less alone. Ultimately the result of all this rude behavior is the audience has to endure an annoying and obnoxious person for the full 90 minutes this movie runs. I was surprised that during this entire story there was not one mention of what Wilson does for money or what he does for a living or even how he became such a disaster of a person in the first place. Considering our jobs are such a large percentage of our existence it would have been nice to see how or if Wilson is employed.
The story of Wilson is really no story at all, but rather a series of strange events and discoveries, including running into his x-wife and from there events go from strange, to weird, to pathetic, to very depressing and then back to pathetic again. There are several cameo appearances in this film, including Mary Lynn Rajskub, Cheryl Hines and Laura Dern, who plays Wilson’s x-wife who has of all things the name “Pippi”, and her life and reality since her divorce from Wilson many years earlier is almost as pathetic has his is.
The attempts to be a different type of a story are many in this film, but being different than most stories we have all seen before is not enough to make Wilson a good or even an average movie. It is hard to imagine how this movie was even made considering the uninteresting depressing story that tries to make a sad and pathetic life funny. On top of all this just about all the characters in this file are very unlikable and in the end, there is no attempt by Wilson or even his x-wife to somehow transition into a better person. For these reasons and so many others, I cannot recommend Wilson.