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California Solo
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Reviews & Ratings for
California Solo More at IMDbPro »

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26 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Good story line

Author: movietode from United States
28 January 2012

The screen play is very well written. I read it before the movie was shot and could easily feel the strength of the story. It's a mature subject though, which seems to bear out in the IMDb vote distribution. It's going to appeal most strongly to older folks. By the way, we older folks have money and pay to see movies with good story lines. Carlyle is a great choice for a lead in this movie, having seen him do forlorn but strong characters in many movies and also at the other end of the universe, so to speak ... I can't think of a contemporary alternative that would fit the role. After reading some of the Sundance buzz I rather felt that the critics prefer the same old boring story lines, whereas California Solo at least is a fresh interpretation that is also well-timed to the old rock audience.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Character Study

Author: corrosion-2 from United Arab Emirates
26 July 2012

California Solo is a laid back and entertaining character study. In recent American movies, the character studies (as opposed to biopics) of musicians have tended to be of those belonging to the country & western branch (Crazy Heart, etc.). So it's nice to see one about a British rock and roll artist. Robert Carlyle is perfectly cast as a former Scottish rock musician, now emigrated to USA and working on a farm in California. His only connection with music is the tributes to other rock bands of his era that he records at home for a local radio station. A clash with the law, which threatens deportation back to Scotland, forces him to face his inner demons and past. The film is carried by Carlyle who is both endearing and totally believable as a has been rock musician. The music is good, as is the direction and cinematography. Great fun.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Robert Carlyle is great

Author: SnoopyStyle
4 January 2014

Former British rock guitarist Lachlan MacAldonich (Robert Carlyle) gets a DUI one night. He's an agricultural worker and sells at a farmer's market. Little does he realize that the DUI could lead to his deportation. He is forced to confront difficult past mistakes.

Robert Carlyle is an amazing actor, and he's able to give this character enough depth. He's a damaged individual who can't face up to his past. It's a heavy task to give such an individual more dimensions. And the story doesn't allow him to ease into a happy Hollywood transformation. His first meeting with his daughter is absolutely electric. This is a first class showcase of why he's an amazing actor.

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9 out of 16 people found the following review useful:


Author: js-306-621513 from United Kingdom
14 March 2012

I have seen only a few films that have truly great acting. The film has a great story and to me seems very realistic. Robert Carlyle is a great choice for a lead in this movie, having seen him not show his truly great acting skills in films for the last few years it's nice seeing him back on the silver screen. I think this role of an older British rocker fits his skills perfectly.

I think this film has great potential to go down as a classic and will appeal more to the older generation of 40+, but this not to say that younger people won't enjoy it either.

To me Robert Carlyle gives a performable that shows to sides of a personalty that is plagued by demons.

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Author: mistoppi from Finland
5 May 2017

It tells you something about Marshall Lewy's talent as a writer when the movie starts where it needs to start. There's no extensive background as to who Lachlan is, why he's in Los Angeles. There's little to no set up. We get to see what's the point, we get to see what the main character is going to be struggling with even before we know the main character. Of course this kind of start could be risky, it could alienate the audience if it' done poorly, but Lewy has done it well. The start isn't too fast, but it's fast enough so you don't have time to actually think about not knowing enough at that point. The start is immediate yet smooth.

The story is a bit hard to grasp since there's a lot of details, but of course the main point is the fact that Lachlan faces deportation. However the story can't be summarised to just that, because there are so much happening even though the threat of deportation is the key ingredient. California Solo is exactly what a drama movie should be: a piece of life instead of just a simplified story. The character is more than what we see, there's what happened before and there's what will happen after the events of the movie, and that definitely shows great skills from Marshall Lewy.

However a little part of me wants to ask what was the point? Not because the movie was somehow incomplete or that I didn't get the main theme, but because of the ending and how everything was concluded. But clearly it was meant to be that way.

Visually California Solo is a stunning movie. The whole cinematography just screams "indie film", but it looks amazing. Also the music is amazing and well chosen. The entirety makes me feel the same way as when I listen to Delicate by Damien Rice, which is a bit surprising association.

While the story, directing, soundtrack and cinematography are all amazing, the best part of the whole film has to be Robert Carlyle's performance. Aye, maybe I'm biased, but he's extremely talented. His performance is so emotionally raw and powerful it gives you chills. He's absolutely a brilliant actor, and I can't imagine anyone else playing his character in this movie. California Solo absolutely needed Robert Carlyle, his absolutely perfect for this.

I liked this movie very much, but I feel like I need to get a little bit older and move around to relate to it even more. But in ten years or so, I'll absolutely return to this movie and see if my gained wisdom gives me another way to look at this. But for now I'll just know California Solo is a beautiful, well-made film, which reminds me why I love drama when it's made this excellently.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Film About Personal Redemption

Author: Desertman84 from United States
3 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

California Solo is an independent film that features Robert Carlyle about a touching story of post-fame life and personal redemption.

Former British rocker Lachlan MacAldonich has settled into a comfortably in an ordinary existence just outside Los Angeles. He works on an organic farm and travels regularly to the city's farmers' markets to sell produce during the day.But at night, he retreats to his crummy apartment to record his podcast that recounts the tragic deaths of great musicians. The only positive aspect of his life is a lovely woman named Beau.Then one night, Lachlan gets pulled over for drunk driving.It was a charge that dredges up his past drug offense and threatens him with deportation.His only hope of staying in the U.S. is proving that his removal would cause "extreme hardship" to an American citizen whether spouse or relative.In the end, he contacts his estranged ex-wife and daughter and confronts his and demons that has bothered him for many years in his life.

The only positive aspect of this film is the performance of Carlyle for the screenplay wasn't great enough that the viewer sees it and then forgets after a week.In addition to that,the audience to capture any sympathy or sentiment towards Lachlan due to the film's lack of great elements that one may find it dull and boring despite the fact that it tackles many issues such as redemption,alcoholism and immigration that one may look for in a film.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Worthy Performance from Robert Carlyle

Author: t-kaymichel from United States
26 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As both a professional musician and a Robert Carlyle fan, I couldn't wait to see this movie. Carlyle's performance was pitch perfect, and the story kept me riveted until the end.

This reminded me of the sort of movies we used to see back in the 1970s, when film makers were more concerned with emotional depth than flashy special effects. Carlyle holds nothing back in his portrayal of washed up Britpop musician Lachlan MacAldonich. His work in this role contains raw honesty that is sometimes almost painful to watch. Anyone who's ever loved and despaired over an alcoholic loved one will recognize Lachlan MacAldonich's struggle to avoid the heartache that he, himself, has generated by his own chemical dependency.

Sadly, there were two things which marred this movie for me. One problem was Alexia Rasmussen, whose youth and lackluster acting made her ill-suited to the role of Beau. Though she's certainly easy to look at and wears a hat quite well, there was no real spark during her scenes with Carlyle. And since Beau didn't appear much older than Lachlan's daughter Ari, it made me uncomfortable to watch Carlyle's much older character chasing after her.

The major flaw was Marshall Lewy's total ignorance of basic psychology, which made the ending a bit hard to accept. After watching this character slowly devolve while desperately fighting deportation throughout the entire movie, Lachlan's sudden turn-about during the last remaining minutes of the film just didn't ring true. Instead of wasting footage with moody shots of Lachlan staring out the window during train rides, a bit more dialog which offered some foreshadowing of Lachlan's mental processes would have made better use of screen time.

Despite its weaknesses, Robert Carlyle makes 'California Solo' worth watching. In fact, all of the actors except Rasmussen were excellent, especially A. Martinez and young Savannah Lathem, who portrayed Lachlan's daughter. This is the sort of thought-provoking film which is becoming increasingly rare in this age of over-the-top special effects, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone searching for something with a bit more depth.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

California Solo

Author: hennyxu from Netherlands
4 May 2013

In three words: A character study.

When I saw this movie I didn't had any expectations. If you like explosions, sfx, big plot lines or adventure then this isn't your cup of tea. However, this doesn't mean that this movie is bad. Personally, I think this movie is a welcome change compared to the amount of Hollywood blockbusters that are coming out every month. What I really liked about this movie is the fact that it takes its time, allowing the viewer to think and share the moments of the main character, good and bad.

The focus is on the main character Lachlan MacAldonich, a former Scottish rock band member who immigrated to America because of problems in the past. After living in America for many years, he gets caught drunk driving resulting in deportation. From this point on we follow Lachlan through his struggles caused by the pressure of the present and his burden of the past.

The movie is a character study with a slow pace, so please keep an open mind when watching it. California Solo focuses on the character Lachlan MacAldonich portrayed by Robert Carlyle, who gives a great performance. The supporting cast is reasonable and helps to create the right atmosphere and story progression. However, the movie has its flaws namely, that it is very slow and personally I think certain character interactions didn't work very well.

In the end I give California Solo a 7, because it was a reasonable movie with good acting, emotional content, and a deep submersion of the surroundings.

Recommendation: Watch this movie around 6pm during a sunny day, because the light and timing adds to the atmosphere of the movie.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

realistic portrayal of an aging rocker

Author: bwatty2 from SoCal, US
6 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The film follows a retired Britpop/mod/punk guitarist who has traded in the fame and fortune of rock-star life for an impoverished and lonely but satisfying life of peace. Underlying the protagonist's peaceful life is a lifetime of regret over the death of his band-mate brother. When legal troubles threaten to disrupt his escape from reality, he must try to make amends with those he has abandoned.

I found the story to be interesting and believable, if not a bit slow. The acting is very good and the characters credible. The soundtrack is excellent.

Overall, worth a watch, especially for those into the 80's British music scene.

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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Yeah. Good story...

Author: tadamoriyagi from Los Angeles, CA
8 March 2012

I also read the screenplay before it was filmed. I too really enjoyed the story a lot. It was touching and human and not a "hollywood" story. I was also excited to know that Robert Carlyle was cast as the lead.

I thought the lead character was interesting. He is an aging ex-pat living in America. I think the lives of assimilated ex-pats are very interesting but not often explored in Hollywood. Reading the script, I recognized the emotional themes of rootlessness, guilt and regret the main character goes through as issues many of my closest expat friends and family experience as well. I wish more films like this were made to be released in America and Hollywood.

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