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Goodbye Solo (2009)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 102
Fresh: 97 | Rotten: 5

An original and thoughtful human drama, Goodbye Solo looks at relationships and loneliness while proving director Ramin Bahrani's is an important American voice.

97

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 1

An original and thoughtful human drama, Goodbye Solo looks at relationships and loneliness while proving director Ramin Bahrani's is an important American voice.

audience

81

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 4,503

My Rating

Movie Info

Goodbye Solo is the story of Solo, a kindhearted 34-year-old Senegalese taxi driver in North Carolina. He is hired by William, a tough 70-year-old white southerner, to drive him in two weeks time to a mountaintop from which William plans to jump to his death. Solo decides to charm his way into becoming William's friend, and this odd couple's unexpected friendship grows. Now all Solo has to do is change the old man's mind before the two weeks are up.

R,

Drama, Comedy

Bahareh Azimi, Ramin Bahrani

Aug 25, 2009

$0.8M

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March 26, 2009:
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This week at the movies, we've got a war of the worlds (Monsters vs. Aliens, with voice work by...

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All Critics (102) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (97) | Rotten (5)

Utterly engrossing dual-character study, unfolding with a serene disregard for indie quirkiness, Goodbye Solo radiates authenticity.

December 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An endearing character piece shot through with beauty and humility in which, thanks to his leads' open, sometimes vulnerable performances, tolerance and respect take precedence.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is both funny and sad, placid and provocative and, above all, hopeful and despairing.

May 29, 2009
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Every moment -- including a physically exhausting climactic scene that both confounds expectations and compounds the film's poetic majesty -- is evidence of a masterpiece.

May 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What happens in Goodbye Solo meets the complex demands of good classic storytelling.

May 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The lack of melodrama coupled with moments of quiet celebration make Goodbye Solo a more uplifting tale than one might expect with such a less-than-joyous premise.

May 18, 2009 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a diary of travels in multiculti America, it's in the same bag as The Visitor, for better or worse.

August 18, 2011 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

A marvel of pathos and pace

November 6, 2010 Full Review Source: JWR

Un entrañable y sutil retrato humano, sostenido por el choque y la complementariedad entre dos caracteres muy distintos. Excelente elección de actores que parecen interpretarse a sí mismos.

October 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Hopeful about the rewards that can be mined from the broadening of perspective that comes with getting to know someone outside of your usual social zone.

January 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

One of the year's best films!

December 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinemania

An odd-couple relationship fuels a slow-burning but ultimately moving emotional and spiritual journey in Ramin Bahrani's third feature.

December 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Screen International
Screen International

The problem trying to deal with a self-destructive pessimist is you can never convince them that tomorrow might just be a better day.

November 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Goodbye Solo asks far more questions than it answers, yet there's something in the tender humanity of the journey that seems to matter much more.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Working to a spare screenplay, Bahrani offers none of the usual clues about either the cabbie's surprising determination to prevent the tragedy or the old man's reasons for suicide. This doesn't always help the quiet drama.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The final sequence up in the mountains is particularly affecting.

October 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Subtle and unflinching, this is genuine and charming.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The strange power of those final moments - at once tender, tragic and triumphant - grant this unassuming drama about saying goodbye to Solo the status of a minor masterpiece played in an appropriately minor key.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

You get the sense that writer-director Ramin Bahrani is mystified by America's abandonment of its elderly, and there's a whiff of disapproval in his treatment of this theme, but it's only a whiff.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

An instantly gripping, funny, quietly persuasive drama that held me from the first frames.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

If cinematic form follows cinematic function then Goodbye Solo is a perfect Mercedes of a movie. It is comprised of a quietly purring but powerful narrative engine.

October 9, 2009
Little White Lies

A beautifully understated story of an unconventional friendship.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The raptures that greeted Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo at festivals last year are wholly deserved.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

It's touching in its way, though Bahrani's writing is not nearly as strong as his visual sense, and the denouement is perhaps too understated for its own good.

October 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

Audience Reviews for Goodbye Solo

Nothing short of Excellent. About a man who is about to end his life, and Solo played by Souléymane Sy Savané does everything he can't to prevent it from happing. Not one you will see on any film list but a top ten in my book. 5 Stars. Filmed in and around Blowing Rock North Carolina.
August 26, 2010
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

a beautiful piece of cinema and one of the more underrated films of 2009. a very unique story and incredible performance by savane, the story is stripped down to nothing but the essentials. the film poses dozens of questions and answers only a few of them, but for this story it doesnt detract. we only know what solo knows, and its better that way. excellent film.
March 1, 2010
sanjurosamurai
danny d

Super Reviewer

As much as this title could've worked for the events at the end of Empire Strikes Back, a sequence of events forever frozen in movie carbonite of awesomeness, it somehow works better here. Goodbye Solo is a terrific movie of simple yet profound emotional power, under the load-bearing pillars of its 2 main characters: William (Red West) and Solo (Souléymane Sy Savané). The movie opens by dropping the viewer off into a conversation that builds the skeleton for the rest of the film (a process that adds its heart and soul): Solo, a Senegalese cab driver in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is taking William, a grizzled old man with a calloused face, to a movie theater, innocently enough. William makes Solo an offer: in 10 days' time, drive him to Blowing Rock National Park for a cool grand - far more than the fare for a few hours' drive is worth. No return trip is mentioned. Solo, ever inquisitive, jokingly stumbles into the truth as he deluges William with questions. This forges Solo's mindset into one of curiosity translated through relentless good cheer, and yet the cantankerous William, brusquely protecting himself from too many questions with an f-bomb minefield, remains unfazed. Or does he?

As the film proceeds, we find Solo jockeying himself at dispatch to become William's exclusive cab driver, and whether William is just too tired or just doesn't care, his passiveness allows Solo to ferret his way into William's days. Very naturally presented is Solo being married to Quiera (whom is pregnant with Solo's first child), is a stepfather to bright young Alex, and is interviewing to become a flight attendant. Solo unflinchingly shares all of this with William, perhaps as a tactic to provoke William to share, but if so it fails, as the viewer knows only as much as Solo does about William's life - which is to say, not much. Solo, along with the audience, continues to observe William, sometimes going out of his way to do so, trying to find out why this old man wants to go on a one-way mission to Blowing Rock to... well, it remains unsaid, but everybody knows it. Solo wants to help. It is in his nature. But, William snipes every advance to be helped; he is as resolved as his face is etched with years.

Roger Ebert has a great line in describing these protagonists: "William's face was made to look pissed off; Solo's face was made to smile." So right. And it goes a long way to visually depict the difference between these two characters, and how they act. Speaking of which, nothing felt like acting in this movie - nobody is recognizable. Equally authentic is the movie's "soundtrack," which consists of what's on the radio in Solo's cab and the random noises of the night (and day) of Winston-Salem. This emphasizes the movie's almost minimalist intimacy all the more - kind of a documentarian's view of Winston-Salem, and of these two souls, very simply, being who they are with each other. An undercurrent of sorrow murmurs with each passing scene, despite Solo's infectious upbeatness. Slowly, we begin to see the depth of emotion glistening in the eyes of both William and Solo as the 10th day nears, as a few grains of truth about William's movie theater missions are revealed, and as Solo's life undergoes new changes. There is no cavalcade of dramatic events; just their lives having grown because of each other, very honestly and powerfully punctuated when Solo discovers William's small journal of observations over the past several days they spent together. It is in these final few scenes of Goodbye Solo that it takes an elegiac tone, as so much seems to have been set in place that fates simply could not be averted. You just have to accept it, even if there was an infinitesimal reason for avoiding it that may have germinated over the days spent. What is unmistakable, however, is that Solo and William were all the more enriched for each other throughout this film. And I all the more enriched for having witnessed it.
April 11, 2010
neumdaddy
Neum Daddy

Super Reviewer

    1. Solo: You're not gonna jump, are you ?
    – Submitted by Maryam Z (10 months ago)
    1. Solo: You're not gonna jump, are you?
    – Submitted by Maryam Z (11 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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