Posted: 09/06/2010


Solitary Man on Blu-ray


by Elaine Hegwood Bowen

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Solitary Man showcases Michael Douglas as 50-something-year-old Ben Kalmen in a brilliant portrayal of a man who’s had it all and is now scrambling just to have a little. Douglas is recently divorced, with one grown daughter, a grandson, and a girlfriend who has a college-age daughter.

He’s a playboy who has a penchant for younger girls or just any woman. And therein lies his issue. After taking his girlfriend’s daughter to her college admissions interview, he has sex with her and thinks that all is well upon their arrival back home. The daughter blasts the news to her mom, who has been sort of a benefactor for Douglas, since he has been found guilty of fraud within his popular and prosperous former auto dealership. He had lost the dealership, but his girlfriend had pulled strings to allow him to open another one—that was, before he had the fling with the daughter.

After that incident Douglas is ostracized yet again and can’t find work. He develops an even more distant relationship with his daughter, as he continues to disappoint his grandson time and again and tries to use his daughter as his own personal ATM to keep him afloat in his luxury apartment. But he still doesn’t lose his penchant for women at any cost. Solitary Man is a critically acclaimed portrait of a man who has charisma, which can’t be denied, but that might be part of his downfall.

Seemingly at the end of his rope, it just so happens that he has a chair and has donated much money to the college where the ex-girlfriend’s daughter is going, and he ends up going to that area to work at a snack shop owned by his old college friend played by Danny DeVito.
This opens up another can of worms, as he is accused of chasing after the young woman, and her father sends a goon to work Douglas over, warning him to pack his bags and leave.

Another favorite in this movie is Jesse Eisenberg, who plays a college student that Douglas takes under his wing and tries to advise him on matters of girlfriends and love. This even leads to untoward advances on the part of Douglas. It’s as if he hasn’t yet learned a lesson. But the relationship between he and Eisenberg pans out to be a good one. Finally it’s revealed that his sexual appetite might be connected to the fact that he had been diagnosed with a heart ailment some years prior. This fact is kind of weird, since Douglas is presently battling cancer in real life.

Solitary Man is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment Tuesday, Sept. 7. The Blu-ray and DVD include the following special features: Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Brian Koppelman, Director David Levien and Actor Douglas McGrath; Solitary Man: Alone in a Crowd – behind the scenes with the cast of Solitary Man and a theatrical trailer
Solitary Man is a great movie, it once again shows Douglas at his best and even more so illustrates why he continues to stay on the top of his game with performance after award-winning performance.

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Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.

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