Solitary Man 2009

Critics score:
81 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: Wicked, blunt writing, a great supporting cast and Douglas doing variations of other sleazy womanizers he's played make this a tart, terse treat. Read more

Michael Phillips, At the Movies: Good film. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: A sharp, small-scale comedy of male misbehavior that turns out to be one of this dreary spring's pleasant cinematic surprises. Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: It's smoothly written and smartly paced, and Michael Douglas is riveting. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Solitary Man intends to be shocking, and has been rewarded with some respectful reviews. But ticket buyer beware -- the film's real shocker is its unpleasantness. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: You'd think Michael Douglas has played the charming cad on screen once too often, but damned if he doesn't pull it off once more in grand style. Read more

Noel Murray, AV Club: Douglas makes all the contrivances feel like universal, soul-testing dilemmas. He encourages the audience to lean in and watch him close, to pick up a few tips on how to look cool while melting down. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Why do we keep watching this sad, sad man? Because he's ecstatic as long as he avoids facing reality, and Douglas makes that ecstasy a marvelous thing to behold. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: Though this drama by writer-director Brian Koppelman hardly measures up to Wonder Boys, it comes a lot closer than King of California. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: In its scruffy, take-me-or-leave-me way, it deserves attention. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: Yet more proof that Michael Douglas can do anything he pleases so long as he's playing a jerk. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The empty guy at the beginning of this movie is pretty much the same empty guy by its end. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Michael Douglas surges ahead in Solitary Man with the best work he's done in the decade since Wonder Boys. Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: The role is so tailor-made for Douglas, who has put in years of screen time on the horizontal, that the rest of the story has to fit in around him, leaving scant room for maneuver. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: There's the honest sleaziness of Kalmen's character. There's the camerawork, which is unblinking. And there's the story itself, which while offering perhaps too pat an explanation, provides few excuses and no easy end. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Solitary Man is a movie about watching a guy spin his wheels while figuring things out. Douglas has that down pat, selling us the best smarm money can buy, and his scenes with DeVito, Parker and Sarandon are perfect dances of evasion and acceptance. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: Douglas' juiciest vehicle since Wonder Boys. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: The movie is slow, talky and takes time getting started. Often it seems like an infinite amount of sound and fury, signifying nothing. But the uniformly terrific acting by the attractive cast keeps it meritorious. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Michael Douglas is at his best when playing a character at his worst. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Solitary Man gives Douglas a chance to act, not merely posture or show off for the camera. It's some of the finest, least forced work he has done in years. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The film is all about Ben Kalman, but one of the strengths of Michael Douglas' performance is that he isn't playing a character. He's playing a character who is playing a character. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The bumps in the narrative can be jarring, but Douglas never makes a false move, delivering a tour de force in human weakness. Read more

Matt Zoller Seitz, Koppleman and his co-director, David Levien, hit the right tone early -- empathetic yet brutally honest -- and Douglas' absorbing, minutely detailed performance sustains it. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Nobody does sagging male vanity as well as Douglas. Buoyed by director Brian Koppelman's sharp script and a stellar supporting cast, he makes Ben's skid into the ditch mesmerizing. Read more

Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: It's a smart, funny film that flirts with the edge. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: It's a fascinating character study isolated within a mediocre film. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Nobody does oily like Michael Douglas. Read more

David Fear, Time Out: A truly impressive portrait of self-destructive, smooth-talking alpha males, and a testament to an actor who waltzes across that Peter Pan-syndrome tightrope with the greatest of sleaze. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: It offers audiences the pleasures of a screenplay whose every acerbic line is firmly rooted in character, and it hands Michael Douglas one of his best roles in years. Read more

Melissa Anderson, Village Voice: The film courageously shows its reprobate hero sliding further, not redeeming himself. Read more