Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
As cynical and dark as this movie can be, it also has a message of hope; it truly believes that humanity has good to offer and that family is an important source of strength and refuge. Shows some fat-shaming but doesn't support this behavior.
Positive Role Models
Wilson is foul-mouthed, temperamental, and sometimes mean, but he forever hopes for the best in people. And even though he's often disappointed, he keeps persisting.
Violence & Scariness
A brawl includes punching, throwing, etc. Brief hitting. Main character is punched/beaten in prison (also smashed in the head with a metal tray). Wounds and bruises are shown. A secondary character dies of cancer. Reference to "ass-rape" in prison. A character has a swastika tattoo.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters are interrupted while having sex; no graphic nudity. Other characters sleep together in the same bed; sex is presumed but not shown. Kissing. Main character talks to prostitutes. Strong innuendo.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Extremely strong, constant language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls---," "a--hole," "p---y," "c--t," "c---sucker," "c--k," "ass-rape," "bitch," "whore," "ass," "dumbass," "penis," "balls," "d--khead," "butt," "dong," and "hell," plus uses of "God" and "Jesus Christ" (as exclamations).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Mentions of Yelp and Legos.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A supporting character is a recovering alcohol/drug user. Characters drink wine at dinner. Mention of cocaine.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wilson is an edgy dark comedy based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes. It centers on a character (played by Woody Harrelson) who's foul-mouthed, temperamental, and sometimes mean but also forever hopeful about the goodness of people and family. Language is the biggest issue; it's extreme and constant and includes every four-letter word imaginable. There's a knock-down fight scene between two sisters, as well as a few scenes of Wilson being beaten up in prison. He's smashed in the head with a metal tray, and wounds and bruises are shown. In addition to strong sexual innuendo, there's a non-graphic sex scene between Wilson and a woman, and he's later shown lying in bed with a different woman. A secondary character is said to be a recovering addict; some social drinking is shown, and drugs are mentioned. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Like Daniel Clowes' earlier Ghost World, this adaptation of his 2010 graphic novel is filled with vulgar, adult humor -- but it's also extremely funny, truthful, and touching. Though the book version of Wilson was often difficult to like, in the movie, he's kind of a cynical optimist, expecting the best of people but outraged when he doesn't get it. Thanks in part to Harrelson's nuanced performance, Wilson becomes something of a lovable misfit.
Director Craig Johnson, whose great The Skeleton Twins was unafraid to look at the dark side of human nature while still achieving funny, truthful characters, does fine work here again. In addition to Harrelson, Dern is miraculous as Wilson's ex, struggling to keep upright, and each and every smaller role is fleshed out by a memorable, vivid performance. The movie's look and pacing echo Clowes' comic work, creating a world both ridiculous and warm. It's a subtly complex movie, and though the outcome is still a little dark, Wilson is ultimately hopeful.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.