There are those films that are offbeat for the sake of being offbeat. Then there are those that show authenticity in their offbeat approach and end up being relatable and enjoyable. “Wilson” starring Woody Harrelson belongs in the latter camp. A prickly curmudgeon, Wilson (Harrelson) goes on a journey of self-discovery to connect with others after his father dies. Those he hopes to reconnect with include his estranged wife, Pippi (Laura Dern) and his teen daughter, Claire (Isabella Amara), whom he never knew he had. And as the saying goes, it’s the journey, not the destination that enables Wilson to learn what it’s like to be part of a community.

A cinematic rendering of graphic novel

Graphic novels often lend themselves to film in that the visual panels are akin to storyboards and often are formatted as cinematic stories. Adapting from his own graphic novel “Wilson,” Academy Award-nominated writer Daniel Clowes (“Ghost World”) does well in bringing to the screen his novel’s quirky world. Director Craig Johnson (“Skeleton Twins”) glowingly comments about Clowes’ screenplay in the film’s production notes, “Dan’s version was already beautifully cinematic, I just had to avoid screwing it up.”

Woody Harrelson delivers a skilled lead performance

Too often part of an ensemble in films like “The Hunger Games” trilogy, “Now You See Me” or “Zombieland,” Woody Harrelson deserves and finally gets that featured lead.

And make no mistake, he deserves high praise for his wacky performance as the miscreant Wilson. At times his unlikeable and cringe-worthy antics are hard to watch, and yet miraculously they’re also believable. We’ve all known people who have uttered a “Wilson-ism” upon the general public. But it’s watching this outsider trying to connect with his new family and find familial love that makes “Wilson” so watchable.

As Johnson notes about the film and Wilson, “It’s got a wicked sense of humor with a real emotional core that has everything to do with Wilson himself.”

There are no small parts for great actors and talent

Co-stars Dern and Amara are on equal ground with Harrelson, but the fun of “Wilson” is also watching top actors in smaller roles. Judy Greer as Wilson’s dog walker, Cheryl Hines as Pippi’s sister, Margo Martindale as Wilson’s one-time date, and David Warshofsky and Mary Lynn Rajskub as friends, not only shine in their performances but are hilarious foils to Wilson’s antics.

Also of note is the excellent score by Jon Brion (“Punch Drunk Love”) and the luminous, yet studied palette of Wilson’s transforming the world by iconic cinematographer Frederick Elmes (“Blue Velvet”) and production designer Ethan Tobman.

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