Goodbye Solo

Posted by schnolis on May 9th, 2009 filed in Reviews

GOODBYE SOLOLost of people have a friend like Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane). Everyone who doesn’t should want one. Sure, he’s not the guy you want to hang with every night. Solo talks all the time, he butts in when he feels like it, and he doesn’t really understand the word “no”. But ultimately you want him in your corner. He’s loyal, always cheerful, will be there when you need him, and really listens to you, even if you do have to tell him a few times. Or ten.

Solo drives a cab in the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina. He lives with his girlfriend Queira and her daughter Alex (Diana Franco Galindo). Together they’re expecting their first child but the relationship is heading in the wrong direction. Solo is studying for a flight attendant’s exam but Queira wants him around to be a father for their child. He wants to do right for his baby, but he strives for greater things than driving around a cab every night until the early morning.

One evening he picks up an unusual passenger. William (Red West) is an ill-tempered older man who tries to schedule a job a couple of weeks in advance. When Solo learns it’s a one-way trip to a remote location, he begins to question William’s motives. He befriends William and takes him all around town running various errands, none more peculiar than the frequent trips to a local movie theater. Despite William’s complete silence on the matter, Solo predicts that William is attempting to end his life. Solo is distraught by this, but also by the conflict in his own relationship. He tries everything he can to convince William not to go through with it.

It is the nature of this friendship that is so bizarre and yet so touching. Solo quickly senses a disturbance in another human being that he cannot ignore. This caring and persistent indifference to any protestations certainly makes an impact on William, but not enough to deter him from his intended plans. What makes this movie really amazing is Solo’s willingness to respect William, despite not agreeing. Love takes on all shapes. It’s rarely simple or easily comprehended, but Goodbye Solo gives us a sadly short friendship set in the natural world. We’re never truly alone, no matter how isolated we can feel.

What I liked: A complicated, deeply human story. Solo was a great character who exhibited noble qualities. His step-daughter Alex was great in her limited screen time. There is an incredible scene at the end where William and Solo share a moment of understanding. That moment, a few seconds in time without a spoken word, had more emotion in it than I would have thought possible.

What I disliked: There was very little to dislike in the film, really, but it was sad. That’s not really a criticism, but I don’t have much else to put here. There was nothing I would have specifically changed, because the movie as a whole was ultimately solid.

Rating: 9 of 10

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