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Solitary Man (2009)

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A car magnate watches his personal and professional life hit the skids because of his business and romantic indiscretions.

Writer:

Brian Koppelman
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Douglas ... Ben Kalmen
Susan Sarandon ... Nancy Kalmen
Danny DeVito ... Jimmy Merino
Mary-Louise Parker ... Jordon Karsch
Jenna Fischer ... Susan Porter
Imogen Poots ... Allyson Karsch
Jesse Eisenberg ... Daniel Cheston
Richard Schiff ... Steve Heller
Jake Siciliano ... Scotty
David Costabile ... Gary Porter
Ben Shenkman ... Peter Hartofilias
Anastasia Griffith ... Carol Salomonde
Alex Kaluzhsky ... Ted Loof
Simona Williams ... Nurse (as Simona Levin Williams)
James Colby ... Sgt. John Haverford
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Storyline

Ben Kalman is aging: he has heart problems, his marriage is over, he's lost a fortune after being caught cutting corners in his East Coast car business, and he's sleeping with as many women as possible - the younger the better. He's chosen his current girlfriend, Jordan, because her father can help him get a new auto dealership; she's asked him to escort her daughter, Allyson, 18, on a visit to a Boston college campus. He behaves badly, and there are consequences to his love life, his finances, and his relationship with his daughter and grandson. Is there anywhere he can turn? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Ben loves his family almost as much as he loves himself

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

25 June 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre solitario See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$94,936, 23 May 2010

Gross USA:

$4,360,548
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Douglas's next film Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) was also filmed at Fordham University and again co-starred Susan Sarandon. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Nancy Kalmen: When was the first time that a doctor sent you for a heart scan? Hospital called you. Called your daughter.
Ben Kalmen: Uh, Dr. Steinberg ordered up that test about six and a half years ago.
Nancy Kalmen: And how long after that did you start cheating?
Ben Kalmen: That day.
Nancy Kalmen: And you never went back to have the test done, did you?
Ben Kalmen: No. Cant use that as an excuse though. It was a factor. But, uh, you know, things were building up.
Nancy Kalmen: Building up?
Ben Kalmen: Yeah. I was becoming invisible.
Nancy Kalmen: [confused] Invisible?
[...]
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Soundtracks

Lover
Written by: Scott Nickoley, Jamie Dunlap, and Stephen Lang
Performed by Maureen Davis
Published by Revision West (BMI), Red Engine Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Mastersource
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User Reviews

 
Solitary Man shows Michael Douglas at his very (aging) best
8 July 2010 | by cliffgold-1See all my reviews

At 65 years old, Michael Douglas can still command the movie screen. In recent years, his choice of parts has looked somewhat desperate to me. Solitary Man got little publicity and is playing largely art houses around the country. And it is quite a film. It is very much Douglas at his aging best. His character is true to the Neil Diamond song by the same name, a version of which is sung (badly) over the opening credits.

Featuring an all-star ensemble cast, Solitary Man centers on Ben Kalmen (Douglas), a formerly rich, highly-successful "honest" New York car dealer who pulled off a Bernie Madoff-level scam, got caught, prosecuted, and lost all of his money and most of his respect in the ensuing years-long legal battle. He did avoid jail, however. The movie opens before the scandal and 6 ½ years before the current day, with the always-cocky Ben (think Tom Sanders in Disclosure) going in for his annual physical. His long-time doctor "doesn't like his EKG" and orders major diagnostic tests for him. Flash forward to now.

Ben is divorced from his wife, Nancy (Susan Sarandon in a luscious cameo); living with a rich younger woman, Jordan (Mary-Louise Parker) and her daughter, Allyson, (the very talented Imogen Poots); trying to get a new car dealership approved by the local city council; and chasing women successfully all over the Boroughs. This 60+-year-old has all the moves, and they still work on younger women. He hops from bed to bed while milking his live-in and trying to re-capture the success he exudes from every pore but without the money or the friends he once had. Ben is living a nightmare. He is trying to bury the images with meaningless sex and a carefree, live-for-the-moment attitude that is vaguely reminiscent of his roles in films like Wall Street, A Perfect Murder and Wonder Boys.

When Jordan gets ill, she commands Ben to take Allyson to her college interview at Ben's alma mater, where he has been a major donor with his name on the library and everything. Here, the film hits its stride. Ben doesn't want to be there but the memories flood back, including those of his first meeting with Nancy. He leaves Allyson to do what she wants while he befriends a young college student (played by Adventureland's Jesse Eisenberg), becoming a mentor in the process. He also gets reacquainted with his college buddy, Jimmy Merino (Danny DeVito with whom Douglas has done countless films and with whom he roomed as a young thespian), an underachieving good guy who never left the college town and who owns a small café near campus. The very best moments involve Ben and Allyson; don't miss them.

Let's just say the story evolves from here with Ben's life spiraling downhill, all of his own doing. Nothing has been the same since the day his doctor told him he might have a serious heart problem. Everything came up smelling like roses until then and it's been all smelly fertilizer since. Even his only good relationship - with his married daughter, Susan, who loves her dad, listens to his problems and helps where she can – begins to decay. Played by The Office's Jenna Fischer in a performance that was a revelation, Susan doesn't hold any grudge about the divorce or dad's highly publicized fall. But he even does her wrong.

There are several questions the audience wants answered. Can Ben be redeemed? When he hits rock bottom, will anyone be there? Will his heart give way before that? Will he commit suicide, die of natural causes, or be saved? Co-writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien direct their first major movie after having penned films like Rounders, Runaway Jury, and Ocean's Thirteen (all favorites of mine), and they do so with aplomb. This is an exceptional, if depressing, independent film that shows that Douglas can still act, entice, entertain, and engage.


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