In “Solace”, Bill Kersey is the obituary writer who gets deep into who a certain person was. He is the pallbearer who understands a family’s grief, even to the point where he feels it himself. He has afforded guitarist and occasional collaborator Jon Couch the greatest of means to describe how he felt about his son and the devastation when Joshua Nathan Couch died of cancer.
Couch has played his guitar all his life and Kersey shows him in a recording session, slowly plucking the strings for a song that is for his life and his son’s. Photographs show that no matter what went on his life, through growing up, through the birth of his son, a guitar was always perched on his lap, always awaiting his music. Those photographs, where Jon learns the terrifying news of his son’s illness are equally affecting to us, and Kersey is skilled enough not to believe in dramatic beats to make viewers feel even more sorrowful over what’s going on. It’s enough that Josh’s song keeps playing and Kersey’s greatest talent is in simplicity through poignancy. A person is a person and a life is a life to him, but ultimately, that life always means something. And in turn, we think of our own, which is the greatest power any short that claims to know about life can offer. “Solace” knows a lot about life and Kersey honors memories, especially through a final shot with words under a photograph of Josh. This is one life that, while short, will live on because of Kersey’s efforts. Josh would surely be touched.