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Solitary Man [Blu-ray]

3.5 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

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Product Description

Ben (Michael Douglas) once ruled a car-dealership empire vast enough to fuel a glossy Manhattan lifestyle and endow a library at an East Coast university. But by the time he arrives at the college with his girlfriend’s daughter, Allyson (Imogen Poots), who is a prospective student, his world has collapsed around his ears. A business scandal has cost him his income and his marriage to Nancy (Susan Sarandon). His ever-present lust for every passing attractive woman threatens to take what little Ben has left. Even his new relationship with Jordan (Mary-Louise Parker) oscillates with tension. When Ben takes Allyson to tour the school, his motives are more than mixed.


Michael Douglas has spent the second half of his career perfecting playing charming, morally flawed rakes (Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, Wonder Boys). So his performance in Solitary Man--as a morally flawed rake who is somehow ingratiating, if not exactly charming--is a subtle but real revelation of Douglas's acting skills. His character in Solitary Man, Ben, shows elements of his roles in the other films, yet Ben is no master of the universe; he's one step away from pathetic--and just enough so that viewers will be invested in finding out how his story plays out, even if at the same time they'd like to see Ben get some comeuppance. Douglas's Ben gets a late start on his midlife crisis, at roughly age 60, when his doctor suggests further tests on a heart irregularity. In the aftermath of that shocking news, Ben's tidy life (beautiful wife Nancy, played by Susan Sarandon; thoughtful daughter Susan, played by Jenna Fischer) has come undone, rent by divorce, a giant fall from his career as a successful car dealer, and a string of rather nauseatingly inappropriate liaisons with far younger women. Ben should have "hit bottom" by the time Solitary Man picks up his story, some six years later, and in many ways he has--broke, despondent, lonely. Yet somehow Ben can still charm the thongs off the ladies (and this is one area that Solitary Man just doesn't ring true in; Ben may be a good salesman, but no unemployed 65-year-old is that good a salesman). The supporting cast is outstanding, especially Sarandon and Fischer, whose characters should have given up on Ben long ago, and yet still remain invested, even bailing him out, sometimes unwisely. Mary-Louise Parker is also splendid as Jordan, Ben's wealthy girlfriend, who also keeps him afloat financially. The lovely Imogen Poots plays Allyson, Jordan's teenage daughter, whom Jordan entrusts to Ben's care on a trip to check out his alma mater. (Bad idea.) "You can't cheat death, no matter how many 19-year-olds you talk into your bed," Nancy tells Ben, who seems to be listening--yet this old dog may not have it in himself to learn the new tricks he'll really need to make his life work. It's to Douglas's enormous credit, and to the script's, that Solitary Man, and Ben, manage to come off as human and real--even sympathetic. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features

  • Commentary featuring Writer/Directors David Levien and Brian Koppelman
  • Deleted/Extended scenes
  • Making-of Featurette

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Danny Devito, Jenna Fischer, Jesse Eisenberg
  • Directors: David Levien Brian Koppelman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: September 7, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003Q6D228
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,215 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Solitary Man [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The film follows Michael Douglas as he comes to grips, or doesn't, with his age and the fact that his personal life as passed him by. The movie begins with Douglas receiving the news that he needs some test performed on his heart because his doctor has some concerns. Time then flashes forward six years, where Douglas is now divorced with a daughter in her early 30s (played expertly by Jenna Fischer), a grandson who is five, and a girlfriend (Mary Louise Parker) who he is using for her father's power. Hints are dropped that Douglas was involved in some sort of scam that caused him to lose his extremely profitable business and threw him into a scandal that destroyed his reputation. The rising action begins when Douglas must escort his girlfriend's daughter to his alma mater for the weekend. While in Boston, Douglas makes a terrible decision that threatens to unravel whatever life he has left.

Though this film received little attention, I thought that it was absolutely excellent and worth an Oscar nomination (being that they're handing them out willy nilly now). Susan Saradon plays Douglas' ex and does so expertly with just the perfect amount of anger, pity, and old love. Douglas plays the philandering 60+ year old who still thinks he's 20 perfectly. The end of the movie leaves people guessing, but can also be used as a conversation starter and had me thinking about the film long after I left the theater.
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Format: DVD
"Solitary Man," stars Michael Douglas, who plays Ben Kalman, a middle-aged man whose annual physical triggers a self-centered need to recreate his youth. He throws off all responsibilities in his life. He was a very successful luxury car dealer, happily married and set for life. The doctor's recommendation to have more tests on his heart shocks him visibly with fear of dying. He does not want to know more or take tests to find out what the diagnosis is.

Over the next six-and-a-half years, Ben transforms into an unappealing pathetic soul as one by one friends and family cut him off. He continues begging people for money and jobs, plus finds time to get into complicated sexual situations with a friend of his daughter as well as the daughter of the woman he is currently dating. His career in a mess and he is a loser with every woman he meets. He cannot find pleasure in positive things, and in the end he is alone, a "Solitary Man."

Somehow Douglas makes this unappealing character real, and the movie is a fascinating drama-comedy.
Comment 30 of 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
No one does loathsome charm like Michael Douglas! In a career filled with oily characters, Ben Kalmen is easily one of the more reprehensible creations that Douglas has fleshed out. Seemingly without one redemptive character trait, "Solitary Man" doesn't shy away from the ugliness, desperation, and fear that fuel Kalmen's self destructive bent. And as much as you may despise the man, Douglas manages to convey enough humanity and humor to keep you hoping for more. It's an intricately balanced role and Douglas deftly handles its challenges. If you're not with Douglas for good and bad, than you will likely find "Solitary Man" quite unpleasant. Douglas had me, however, and backed by a solid and wildly appealing supporting cast--"Solitary Man" became an amusingly direct look at a man dealing with his own mortality.

With a brief introduction, we meet Douglas as a successful man facing a possible health crisis. Fast forward six years. Douglas is now broke, unemployed and practically unemployable due to a scandal, divorced, and carrying on with a woman for her business connections. He's an aging lothario who seems to be actively working to estrange himself from his family and his closest friends. The thought of not living life on his own terms has caused him to systematically deconstruct everything that was once successful and lovable about his old persona. Douglas is fearless as I mentioned above and his trysts with younger, and some patently inappropriate, women range from comical to quite unsettling. Douglas ultimately does have to start addressing his shortcomings, but is it too little and too late?

While Douglas may be difficult to like--he is certainly surrounded by a plethora of people who still care. The film shines in its supporting cast.
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Format: DVD
SOLITARY MAN is either a depressing movie or a movie about a depressing society - until the film is over and afterthoughts dredge up memories of very similar people. Then it simply becomes a Greek tragedy. Writer Brian Koppelman introduces a character that is all charm and façade who begins to take himself seriously (believing the false front that has lead him to a 'successful' life) after a routine physician's check up reveals an abnormal EKG. Facing the ultimate fragility of life and the insight that his last years may be approaching more rapidly than he ever thought possible, our 'hero' begins a downhill skid and the effects. It is a march that is sad to watch, but due to the sensitivity of directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien and to the impressive performance by Michael Douglas, it stays imprinted on the brain long after the film's subtle ending fades.

Ben Kalman (Michael Douglas) is the person of interest in this story, a man who six years prior to the opening of the film is informed of his mortality, and in the last six years this car dealer has gone form disposing of his honest reputation to the point of participating in scams, being arrested, bedding every 19 year old girl he can, losing his money, divorcing his wife (Susan Sarandon), losing the respect of his daughter (Jenny Fischer) whose husband requests she not see her father nor expose their son to him, cheating on his girlfriend with important family ties (Mary Louise Parker) by inappropriate activity with her daughter (Imogen Poots), and being refused financing despite his friend (Ben Schenkman) attempts on his behalf.
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Solitary Man [Blu-ray]
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