Goodbye Solo explores the unlikely relationship that emerges between two very different men. Solo is a cab driver, and William is his passenger. William has a deal for Solo who is reluctant to take it. The reason? William may or may not be returning from the destination he wishes to journey to.
As the countdown to the day this “deal” is to take place, Solo and William begin to bond. Solo brings his eternal optimism and joy to the life of the cranky and curmudgeonly William; William helps Solo with his test to become a flight attendant. As a result, both men start to bond and become an odd couple of sorts.
I enjoyed this film. The ending was definitely unexpected, and the feel of the film is much more personal and character-driven than recent cinematic fare. Much like Doubt and The Soloist, Goodbye Solo is about relationships and the conflicts, sympathy, empathy, and joy that emerge or dissolve because of them.
Red West (William) and Souléymane Sy Savané (Solo) are amazing and play their roles with passion and a real sense of humanity. They feel like real people instead of like reel people (if you get my meaning). As they become closer to each other, we become closer with them. This makes the ending all the more powerful and moving.
Another element that makes the film unique is the direction and the editing. Director/Editor Ramin Bahrani allows the camera to run while his actors perform instead of hitting us with multiple cuts in quick succession.
This leads to a more natural feel to the performances and makes for a more realistic looking film. It also allows us to witness two talented actors actually acting instead of having their performances cobbled together in an editing program.
The special features include audio commentary by co-writer/editor/director Ramin Bahrani, and the theatrical trailer.
If you enjoy films with solid acting and with an emotional tinge, I recommend Goodbye Solo.