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Goodbye Solo 2008

R CC
3.9 out of 5 stars (31) IMDb 7.4/10

Winner of the Venice Film Festival's prestigious FIPRESCI Critics' Prize, GOODBYE SOLO traces the brief, but life-changing friendship between a reserved, Southern good ol' boy and a warm-hearted, extroverted taxi driver.

Starring:
Souleymane Sy Savane, Red West
Runtime:
1 hour, 31 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Ramin Bahrani
Starring Souleymane Sy Savane, Red West
Supporting actors Diana Franco Galindo, Lane 'Roc' Williams, Mamadou Lam, Carmen Leyva, Peter N. Anyieth, Jim Babel, Sarah S. Brooks, Lasheka Brown, Todd Davis, Alexandra Dimopoulos, Neill Fleeman, Jamill 'Peaches' Fowler, Evelia Garcia, Chris Greene, Viktor Hernandez, Wel Mayom Jok, J. Malaak Juuk, Damian Jewan Lee
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James M. Shertzer on August 26, 2009
Format: DVD
Though it owes a major debt to "Taste of Cherry," which the director has openly acknowledged, Bahrani's third feature is another impressive piece of work. It's better than "Chop Shop," which mostly succeeded on the strength of its atmosphere despite its failure to offer a satisfying ending, and almost up there with "Man Push Cart," his amazing first feature. Again, one of Bahrani's constant themes, the immigrant experience in the "land of opportunity," is a constant. But the center of the film is the brief but intense relationship of a Senegalese taxi driver in Winston-Salem, NC, and a gruff, alienated old man who seems to be preparing for a mountain-top suicide. Youth and hope versus old age and disappointment, the American dream vs. its failure; family love versus family dissolution, the joy of friendship versus its price, trying to change life versus accepting what is are all deftly woven through the narrative. Like Kelly Reichart ("Old Joy," "Wendy and Lucy"), Bahrani tells us little about his characters apart from what we observe ourselves, and leaves great blanks for viewers to fill in themselves. Some will likely find this infuriating, but it's true to life. We seldom get to know fully many of the people we meet. Still, you get to know the affable Solo and taciturn, embittered William very well, thanks to the script, direction and performances. The way they affect each other's lives will deeply move you if you take this film to heart.
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Format: DVD
We saw this movie when it played locally. I was intrigued after reading Roger Ebert's thoughtful and enthusiastic supporting review after it played at Sundance. The two main actors, a cab driver from Senegal and a old, cantankerous man enter into a bargain that takes some time (think suspense)to unfold. Wonderful character development and gritty but good low light cinematography (in North Carolina) work really well in holding the audience... wondering which way each character will go. It's about lost and found dreams, unexpected kindness, and how some people need to control their destiny. Makes me want to go back to NC to see the countryside I missed.
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Format: DVD
Such a fine film, made from the simplest story elements and relying on the performances of two remarkable actors, Souleymane Sy Savane (as Solo) and Red West (as William). Set in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the film is clear from the first scene that one of the characters intends to commit suicide. Although they are strangers, the other man, a Senegalese cab driver, intends to prevent that from happening. Like a well-written short story, that simple premise is the taut thread that runs through this film to its end.

Firm believers in less-is-more, the filmmakers report in the commentary that only the actors playing the two central characters knew what the film was about. Around them are characters oblivious to what's at stake and being played by performers whose performances are thus wonderfully natural. Diana Franco Galindo is especially affecting as the young step-daughter of Solo. Just as fine for this reviewer as director Ramin Bahrani's "Chop Shop" and "Man Push Cart" - and each of them is a gem. The commentary on the DVD will be especially instructive for indie, low-budget filmmakers, as Bahrani and screenwriter Bahareh Azimi focus a great deal on the production of the film.
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Format: DVD
Set in the refreshingly unfamiliar locale of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, "Goodbye Solo" is a perfectly realized human drama that, without question, ranks among the finest films of recent years.

Solo (short for Souleymane) is a cab driver from Senegal who becomes buddies of sorts with one of his regular fares - a cantankerous older gentleman by the name of William, who apparently has no family or close friends and whom Solo begins to suspect might in fact be contemplating suicide. Now Solo must decide how deeply to insinuate himself into the life of a man who obviously cherishes his privacy and who keeps all his emotions and thoughts buried deep beneath the surface of a taciturn, sometimes even resentful, exterior.

Without resorting to hyperbole, I can safely say that not only does Souleymane Sy Savane deliver the most astonishingly compelling performance I've seen in ages, but, in Solo, he has created one of the most fully actualized characters in recent memory as well. We literally can't take our eyes off Savane as he brings to extraordinary life this gregarious, highly energetic and shrewdly observant individual who's been blessed with a seemingly infinite capacity for optimism, for seeing the good in other people, and for caring about his fellow man. And it is the openhearted frankness, the complete lack of guile that Savane brings to the role that turns Solo into such a believable, fully-rounded and unforgettable character. Solo may be stuck in a nowhere job at the moment, but his innate intelligence, personal drive and infectious way with people ensure he will not be there long. Even the camera can't seem to resist Savane as it edges ever closer to his face as the movie races towards its artful, poetic and bittersweet conclusion.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw GOODBYE SOLO when it debuted on my local PBS station in 2009. This great independent film remained with me; leaving indelible unanswered questions about moral ethics, because the story about Solo touched on a myriad of conflicting philosophical issues of conscience when we are faced with tackling life's challenges. The film definitely left a lasting impression on me. In fact, it's now three years later, and I'm not sure I was able to reconcile whether or not the main character, Solo chose the 'ethical' course in the end. In this regard, GOODBYE SOLO was an excellent film because it begs us to ponder our sense of values, specific to 'situation ethics' when confronted with issues of conscience, which might be at odds with cultural/social and religious values we revere.

The main character, Solo is a taxi driver who lives in Winston-Salem, NC; an immigrant from Senegal who is by nature an optimist and gregarious. Affable, hard working, and assertive, Solo is determined to succeed despite the challenge of trying to keep his troubled marriage from falling apart. Yet Solo remains upbeat, while driving a taxi and attending aviation school in hopes of attaining a pilot's license. This creates further fractures in his marriage because Solo's ambition to become a pilot is based in his desire [and determination] to return to his home in Senegal - his pilot license serving as evidence and proof of having attained the American Dream. Amid the ongoing tension is Solo's demanding job and long and irregular hours driving a taxi he doesn't own. These challenges of balancing a busy work schedule, aviation school, and becoming a father during a trouble marriage present Solo with dilemmas.
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