screen-capture“Goodbye Solo” is a rare film. A true indie gem. It is a quiet story that begins with a cabbie being asked to drive his passenger some days in the future to a place called Blowing Rock. It is a one way trip for which he will be very well paid. “What are you going to do, jump off?” Solo asks him as a joke. The silence pushes the story off in the direction it has to take.

Souleymane Sy Savane plays the title character, Solo, a Senegalese taxi driver in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is warm and kind and insinuates himself into his passenger William’s life, trying with everything he has to figure out why William is on this course and to somehow pursuade him that life is worth living. This film could so easily have been sappy or maudlin, but instead it is thought provoking and I left the theater turning it over in my head.

Solo himself is going through some difficulties with his pregnant wife who doesn’t want him to pursue his dream of becoming a flight attendant because he will be away from home too much. And William doesn’t want Solo to get to know anything about him. But somehow Solo rises above it all and his warm-heartedness cannot be ignored. The relationship that evolves between Solo and William is unique in my film viewing. This simple story is told in a totally graceful style. Ramin Bahrani is a filmmaker who I will be watching for some time to come.

This is Souleymane Sy Savanes first big role. He came to America to be a model and you can see why. He has a great career ahead of him as an actor if he can do what he did in the film again and again. If you can, see it now.

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