Before writing this review, I didn’t think I would have much to say about the film but as I thought about it, I did have a lot to say because so does this film.
Following the death of her father, Sole (Hope Olaide Wilson) is sent to live with her aunt and uncle who she can’t seem to get along with. Feeling alone and out of her element, she befriends the free-living neighbors that are looked down upon by the rest of the neighborhood. With the help of her new friends, Sole begins a time of self discovery.
The opening scene in the film is an artistic scene. The scene displays a nude woman wrapped in saran wrap who seems to be struggling to break free. Although I was somewhat puzzled by the scene wondering what I was watching, I knew that initial scene would set the tone of the film. Well I was wrong and right about that.
“Solace is a teen who is struggling with a number of things; the loss of her father…living with her religious and strict relatives, her only friend being her professor…and suffering from an eating disorder…”
Solace is filled with drama from beginning to end. Solace is a teen who is struggling with a number of things; the loss of her father, moving to a new state, living with her religious and strict relatives, her only friend being her professor, having to make new friends, and suffering from an eating disorder. Writer and director Tchaiko Omawale does a great job in not letting you forget about any of these things. Although the issues that Sole is facing are very serious issues for anyone, especially for a teenage, the issues that really drive the story are her new friends, her relationship with her relatives and her eating disorder.
The relationships of Sole are key to the film. Living under the roof of her estranged strict relatives is added stress for Sole and is a reason that Sole does everything that she does in the film. Her aunt and uncle are very religious but Sole is atheist. This is an issue mainly for the aunt (Lynn Whitfield). Sole and her aunt are constantly in conflict and it leads to Sole rebelling against her relatives. By rebelling, Sole befriends her neighbors who her aunt forbid her to talk to. In this new friendship of hers, Sole finds artistic partners as well new intimate relationships.
Sole is looking to get a grant to go to school in New York. To receive the grant she has to make an artistic project with a group of two or more. Seeing has her new friendly neighbors are on the artistic side, Sole sees them as the perfect team. They make the film and become closer up until a very shady moment happens when one of her new friends Jasmine (Chelsea Tavares) turns the film in as her own. This was the time I really got interested in the film which happens about an hour into it.
“…take more artistic risks as much as it did with emotional risks.”
Sole’s eating disorder is something that is hinted at at the very beginning of the film. You start to realize that it’s a disorder as it begins to get more severe as the film goes on. You see things like Sole binge-eating junk food, weighing herself, looking at her body in the mirror and there’s even one point in the film where she eats out of the trash. It’s some really deep stuff to say the least but also seems to be what the initial scene that I had mentioned earlier is about. To me, it symbolized a woman breaking free from her disorder or just breaking free from the social confines of life.
The acting was fairly good throughout and it definitely dealt with some serious issues. The thing that I thought Solace would do is take more artistic risks as much as it did with emotional risks. With the initial scene being as creative as it was and the premise centered an art film, I felt it could have used a bit more than creativity but you only get to see these artsy types of scenes about three times in the film. Yes, I do know that a film is an artistic thing in general but I’m hoping you know what I mean. Overall, the film was good.
Solace (2018) Written and directed by Tchaiko Omawale. Starring Hope Olaide Wilson, Chelsea Tavares, Lynn Whitfield, Luke Rampersad, Glynn Turman. Solace screened at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival.
7 out of 10