‘Goodbye Solo’ movie poster. Courtesy photo
Review by KELLY DOLEJSI
How can you help someone who doesn’t want help? Director Ramin Bahrani takes on this classic frustration in “Goodbye Solo” (2008, rated R), screening at 6:30 p.m. today in Mesa Public Library’s upstairs meeting-room theater.
Set in director’s home state of North Carolina, this award-winning film, which NY Times film critic A.O. Scott calls “almost perfect,” follows the multiple attempts of a cab driver to save his passenger’s life.
Solo (Souleymane Sy Savane), a 34-year-old Senegalese immigrant studying to be a flight attendant, has managed to maintain a blithe outlook despite working long hours driving Winston-Salem’s rundown neighborhoods, his backseat laden with drug dealers and other questionable clientele.
At home, an apartment he refers to as “his wife’s,” he and his wife Quiera (Carmen Leyva) are raising her daughter Alex (Franco Galindo), expecting a baby, and arguing frequently about their incompatible visions of the future.
When Solo picks up William (Red West), William asks to be dropped off at a distant mountain, Blowing Rock, known for being so windy that if you throw a rock or stick over the edge, it will return to you. William says he doesn’t need a drive back.
Solo jokingly asks if he plans to jump. William doesn’t answer, and continues not to answer as Solo repeatedly confronts him and tries to befriend him throughout the film. It’s a beautiful effort, and an equally poignant refusal.
Written by Bahrani and Bahareh Azimi, and thoughtfully shot by Director of Photography Michael Simmonds, “Goodbye Solo” ultimately shows two people respecting each other’s humanity, unconditionally.
All screenings in the Mesa Public Library Free Film Series are free of charge, thanks to the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries. The library shows movies on the first Thursday of nearly every month.