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Friday, May 29, 2009

Goodbye Solo Review

Goodbye Solo - An E1 Films Release


Release Date: May 29th, 2009

Rated 14A for coarse language

Running time: 91 minutes

Ramin Bahrani (dir.)

Bahareh Azimi (writer)

Ramin Bahrani (writer)

M. Lo (music)

Souleymane Sy Savane as Solo

Red West as William

Diana Franco Galindo as Alex

Lane 'Roc' Williams as Roc

Mamadou Lam as Mamadou

Carmen Leyva as Quiera

Red West and Souleymane Sy Savane in Goodbye Solo - An E1 Films release

Our reviews below:


Goodbye Solo Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Goodbye Solo is the story of two people. William (Red West), a washed-up old southerner who gets into a cab and tells the driver, Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane), to in ten days (on October 20th) take him on a one-way trip up to the top of a mountain. The story is of their friendship, and how it develops over the ten days.

The acting is excellent. Newcomer Souleymane Sy Savane is amazing to watch in the title role. The character is charming, funny and genuinely likable. We never quite know William’s motives for what he is doing, the audience never finds out more than Solo knows about his mysterious passenger.

The films most effecting scene, is a very brief one that doesn’t have any dialogue. Two characters look at each other, we see their faces individually. It is not spoken, but we know what they are saying to each other. It is emotional, heart-wrenching and real.

Goodbye Solo is a beautiful film about friendship and new life, even in our darkest hour. The film doesn’t sugarcoat things, or try and provide easy answers to it’s questions. And because of this, it is painfully realistic. While it doesn’t provide for light popcorn entertainment, you should see it for the story line. I highly recommend it.


Goodbye Solo Review By Erin V.

*** (out of 4)

Goodbye Solo is about Solo, a cab driver who gets an offer from an older man named William of $1000 if he drives him one way to the top of a mountain in just over a week. While we don’t know the exact reasons for William’s request, we can come to our own conclusions. Solo is reluctant to agree at first, and starts to try to get to know William better. Meanwhile, he is trying to study for his flight attendant interview/exam, his relationship with his wife is suffering, and his stepdaughter wants him around more.

This movie offers an interesting view on life from the perspective of Solo, a very likable immigrant, who like so many others can only get work driving a cab, despite qualifications for much more. The relationship between the main characters are well acted, and believable. This is a movie that while slow moving, is emotional and thought-provoking.

Because of it’s slow pace and lack of much musical score, it may seem too long for some. This being said, while it may be one to check out more on DVD, it is still definitely worth seeing if you’re interested.


Goodbye Solo Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Goodbye Solo is a quiet, thought provoking film about the unexpected relationship between a passenger and a taxi driver. The movie follows the story of Solo, a taxi driver form Senegal, who has moved to Salem, North Carolina to support his relatives back home. Solo’s life is turned upside down, however, when one of his regular passengers, an older man named William, offers Solo $1000 to bring him to the top of a mountain on October 20th. Solo is concerned about William, and tries to figure out why William is depressed. Solo also can’t figure out why William is not connected to his family, because in Senegal, people take care of their family members, especially the elderly. Solo tries to find out the cause of William’s problems, while at the same time is taking care of his stepdaughter, Alex, and his pregnant wife, all while applying for a job as a flight attendant. This stress temporarily separates Solo from his wife. As October 20th approaches, Solo has to make some serious decisions, as he desperately tries to help William before it is too late. This story will make you think, even after the movie ends.

This movie raises important questions about life and family. The contrast between William and Solo’s views on family really bring to light the problems with our society. Solo is a very likable character, who will never stop smiling and talking, much to the annoyance of William. Solo’s chipper and chatty character really contrasts William’s melancholy mood, and adds a lighter feeling to what could have been a darker film. The acting is decent, and the relationship between Solo and William is very believable. The mountain scenery is beautiful, with the panoramic view of a deciduous forest in autumn. Goodbye Solo is a unique film that is worth checking out.


Goodbye Solo By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Goodbye Solo is the story of an unlikely bond between a taxi driver, Solo and his elderly passenger, William.

Solo is a taxi driver from Senegal struggling to make ends meet for his pregnant Mexican wife Keira and his stepdaughter, Alex. At the same time he is trying to improve his situation by studying to be a flight attendant, a pursuit that causes enough tension in his marriage to cause a separation.

Solo first meets William, when the elderly man books the taxi driver in advance for a one way drive on October 20th to Blowing Rock at Boone's Point. When William offers Solo $1000ºº for the no questions asked trip, Solo becomes concerned. His concern leads him to find ways to become William’s preferred driver for local trips.

The two men form a bond of sorts and when Solo’s wife kicks him out, Solo asks to crash at William’s motel room. During the time the two men room together, Solo gains some insight into why William would want to take a one-way trip to Boone’s Point. Solo finds it hard to understand why an elderly man would be without his family to support him when in Senegal the elderly would be cared for by their loved ones.

What carries this movie and makes it so special is Souleymane Sy Savane’s portrayal of Solo. Solo is a thoroughly likable and believable character. So when Solo makes the decision he does on October 20th, the viewer understands why.

Solid acting throughout and beautiful scenery in the latter part of the movie. Goodbye Solo left me thinking about how people come and go in our lives and how sometimes we need to take the time to get to know the passengers in our life’s taxi.

Goodbye Solo is worth a viewing if you are in the mood for a thoughtful human interest drama.


Goodbye Solo Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané) is an immigrant from Senegal driving a cab in Winston-Salem NC. Gregarious and charming, he has mastered English with all its street idioms and always aims to please his clients, whether in licit or slightly illicit pursuits. He gets on much better with his bright nine year old stepdaughter than with his pregnant Mexican-born wife who doesn’t share his ambition to become a flight attendant. William (Red West) has offered him $1000 to take him in a couple of weeks on a one-way trip to the top of a cliff. Over that time Solo does what he can to persuade William to change his mind, even though he gets much more involved than William (or most Americans for that matter) would like.

Born 34 years ago in Winston-Salem of Iranian parents, Ramin Bahrani has already established himself after only a handful of films as a fine sensitive film maker. Goodbye Solo was inspired by his acquaintance with local African cab drivers as well as experience working in old age homes. The two principal actors couldn’t have been better suited to their roles. The instantly likable Souléymane Sy Savané was a model and TV star in Cote d’Ivoire and even worked for two years as a flight attendant. Red West is one of those faces that you know you’ve seen but can’t quite place. As a former marine born in a Memphis project, he was best known as a bodyguard and songwriter for Elvis Presley and has appeared in hundreds of TV episodes and films over the years, though always in small parts. Finally, the largely hand-held camera work of Michael Simmonds is worth noting for the intimacy it contributes to the story.

Though not for the attentionally-challenged, Goodbye Solo is a moving and life-affirming tale that is definitely worth seeing.


Diana Franco Galindo and Souleymane Sy Savane in Goodbye Solo - An E1 Films release


Consensus: Goodbye Solo is an interesting film. While it is slowmoving at times, if you don’t see it in theatres, it would be worth checking out on DVD. ***1/4 (Out of 4)

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