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Solitary Man (2009)

tomatometer

81

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 94
Fresh: 76 | Rotten: 18

Built around a singularly unpleasant main character, Solitary Man needed a flawless central performance to succeed -- and Michael Douglas delivers.

90

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 3

Built around a singularly unpleasant main character, Solitary Man needed a flawless central performance to succeed -- and Michael Douglas delivers.

audience

50

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 14,368

My Rating

Movie Info

Michael Douglas stars in this dialogue-driven comedy drama about an ethically challenged New York businessman who finds his life falling apart due to a series of career missteps and personal foul-ups. Once upon a time, Ben Kalmen (Douglas) had everything a man could possibly want -- a high-paying job, a beautiful wife, and a spacious Manhattan apartment -- but now all of that is a distant memory. The former owner of a successful auto dealership, Ben has recently lost everything thanks to his own

R,

Drama, Comedy

,

Sep 7, 2010

$4.4M

Anchor Bay Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (95) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (76) | Rotten (18) | DVD (10)

It's a fascinating character study isolated within a mediocre film.

July 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Yet more proof that Michael Douglas can do anything he pleases so long as he's playing a jerk.

July 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Comment (1)
Houston Chronicle
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Nobody does oily like Michael Douglas.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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The empty guy at the beginning of this movie is pretty much the same empty guy by its end.

June 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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Wicked, blunt writing, a great supporting cast and Douglas doing variations of other sleazy womanizers he's played make this a tart, terse treat.

June 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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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.

June 18, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's no likeability anywhere in this film.

January 18, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

The film begins and ends with scenes of acute existential reflection, a state actors rarely convey convincingly-least of all in a contemporary American film.

November 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Douglas has a good supporting cast to work with though -- he's not the whole show despite appearing in every scene.

January 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Gripping drama about getting older; with drinking, sex.

December 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Michael Douglas gives his most accomplished and satisfying peformance in a decade (since Wonder Boys in 2000), playing a role that suits him like a silk glove.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

full review at Movies for the Masses

November 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

A walking, talking screenplay.

November 11, 2010 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm
LarsenOnFilm

Koppelman?s script is awash in phony scenarios.

October 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

A terrific turn by Douglas, and strong support, elevates this character-driven drama above its unlikeable protagonist.

October 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The film's knotty relationships and crisp dialogue are surpassed only by Douglas' captivating turn as a troubled heel whose pathetic behavior fools no one, least of all himself.

September 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

... [Michael] Douglas never drops the charm or the confidence, his greed or lust or simple arrogance pumping up beyond caring when confronted with his own sleaze.

September 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Seanax.com
Seanax.com

It became such a bore that I found myself watching a 60-year-old man and repeatedly saying, Will you just grow up? It's just sad.

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Tulsa World | Comments (6)
Tulsa World

A bit too-neatly designed as The Ultimate Michael Douglas Experience, it's an irresistible one-man show of arrogant entitlement and aching vulnerability.

July 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Weekly
Philadelphia Weekly

Douglas gives a tour de force performance here and the rest of the cast is excellent as well. While I couldn't really buy Kalmen's behavior based on his motivations, Douglas does a tremendous job of selling this character anyway.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

As much as Ben Kalmen is a terrific part for Douglas, it's a part that needs him more than he needs it.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

How to root for Michael Douglas' lost soul

June 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

'Solitary Man' is to Michael Douglas as 'Crazy Heart' is to Jeff Bridges: a tailored showcase about a faded but unruly minor-league celebrity who's reluctant to trade his unhealthy horndog ways for what movie publicists like to call a shot at redemption.

June 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) | Comment (1)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for Solitary Man

Good acting from Michael Douglas but his character is a reprehensible creep so it is difficult to feel sympathy for his plight.
February 3, 2012
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

In Solitary Man, Michael Douglas once again plays the ultra smooth, shark of a man... a man's man type character that he took for a spin in Wall St. This guy has his own view of the world (a rather myopic one, to be sure), and therefore can look anyone in the eye and apologize for nothing. That his outlook causes a fall of Learian proportions... well, he's not going to apologize for that either!

The film has a tight script and some fine performances, including Mary Louise Parker, Danny DiVito, and Susan Surandon (who has the Herculean task of playing a sympathetic ex wife who, in spite of numerous infidelities and the king's ransom that Douglas lost, still loves and admires her man). In the final scene of resolution, Surandon tries her best to be natural, but the lines she has to utter... well, it's almost like she's the straight man, allowing Douglas to riff, and therefore explain through a simple incident, his own brand of megalomania.

There seems to be a certain admiration towards this man whose credo seems to be, take a chance and doors will open; to the point where DiVito, happily married for 30 years still living where he grew up, tells Douglas that he was not alone when he was put on the cover of Forbes Magazine (in other words, DiVito was practicing hero worship and living vicariously through Douglas' exploits).

I really don't know if this is the message of this film, or if one was even intended, but it certainly entertains, so just sit back and watch Douglas in fine form - a flawed character that you have no business rooting for, and yet, due to Douglas' charisma, you end up rooting for in spite of yourself.
September 20, 2011
maxthesax
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

"You can't cheat death, Benny. Nobody can, no matter how many 19-year-olds you talk into your bed."

The topic of the mid-life crisis and men losing their identity and sense of self as they get older has been fertile ground for movies in the past, and Solitary Man is another entry into that sub-genre.

It's a drama with slight comedic elements. Michael Douglas stars as a once powerful man who lost his wealth and position when he was caught running a scam. He fills that void with ill-advised trysts with young women and depending emotionally on his exasperated daughter. When his last-ditch attempt to regain his past career is derailed because of another poor decision, he has to confront what his life has become, his own self-destructive behavior, and how his choices have affected the people around him. This isn't a ground-breaking story, but it's certainly watchable and occasionally emotionally involving.

The real reason to see Solitary Man is the cast. Along with Douglas, the movie stars Mary-Louise Parker, Imogen Poots, Danny DeVito, Susan Sarandon, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jenna Fisher. Some of the parts are bigger than others (I really wish Sarandon would have been a larger part of the movie), but fans of any of them will want to see this.

For everyone else, Solitary Man is a movie you should watch if it piques your interest. Will you be adding it to the list of your all-time favorites? Probably not. It's definitely worth ninety minutes on a Sunday afternoon, though.
March 19, 2011
lewiskendell

Super Reviewer

Michael Douglas is great and shows that he still has more charisma in his old age that most actors will never have. The only real problem with this "dramedy" is that it should have gone further in parts for laughs. It's like it wanted to be a comedy, but didn't want to pull the trigger and relies on drama that doesn't feel authentic to the characters. Definately worth at least a watch.
February 16, 2011
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

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