“CALIFORNIA SOLO”— Confronting the Past

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California Solo”

Confronting the Past

Amos Lassen

Before he moved to California, Lachlan MacAldonich (Robert Carlyle) had been a guitarist in an English band. Now he works on a farm during the day and maintains his own podcast that he records for every night. There he talks about the great musicians who have died too soon. He finds himself in a tough situation when he gets charged with DUI. He had already had a past when he was convicted of marijuana possession and he can very well be deported. He has had no luck raising money to cover his lawyer’s fees. The only way he can avoid deportation is pleading with the excuse that his return to England would prove very much of an ordeal for wife (now his ex-wife) is an American citizen. He was very surprised that Catherine (Kathleen Wilhoite) lets him come over since he has not seen her in years. He tells her about what has happened but does so even before he asks about their 13 year old daughter, Arianwen (Savannah Lathem).

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When a customer comes to the farm, to the fresh air market, Beau (Alexia Rasmussen), he begins flirting with her and this brings him a chance to begin his musical career again when the guy she is with offers him a few gigs.

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Marshall Lewy directs and he throws us early. In the beginning this looks like another romantic movie or a plot about a new lease on life yet it is neither. Rather, it is a character study. It is Carlyle as Lachlan who gives a beautiful and sincere performance and because of this, we pity him. Lachlan’s only connection to music is his podcast. He is like a child at times and he is a manipulative father. His fall is slow and painful, for him and for us and he errs we watch him flounder. Carlyle becomes the movie and he puts it in his pocket and walks away. His facial expressions that convey say everything. He cannot correct his faults and he is the “little man”. The film never rises to the position that Carlyle takes himself to even though it tries very hard. While this is not a perfect movie, there is a lot to appreciate and for that this is worth seeing.

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