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By Clint Fleener | March 14, 2001

Leave it to women to screw up the peace and serenity of a monastery. In the case of “Solitude,” director Robin Schlaht’s head-scratcher of a movie, those women are the lovely Linda (Wendy Anderson), a guest for the summer, and Michelle (Vanessa Martinez), a nineteen year-old minx with an eye for all the hunky monks.
The kindly Father Gregory (Eugene Lipinski) oversees the place, and though he’s mindful of the women’s troubled interactions, he seems blissfully unaware of the source of their clashes. That would be the oblivious Brother Bernard (Lothaire Bluteau), who doesn’t realize that he’s straight in the center of Michelle’s crosshairs. When Michelle spots an innocent conversation between Linda and the hapless monk, a shy bumbler whose musing, intermittent voice-overs do little to alleviate this film’s sense of confusion, her talons come out. But then, a couple of scenes later, the two women are inexplicably best of friends…until they’re spatting again by movie’s end. Such is the jumbled nature of this befuddling film.
Then there’s…um…jeez. Nearly ninety minutes worth of movie, and that’s about all that sticks out about this film. It’s not that there’s so much going on in “Solitude” that it’s impossible to remember it all. In fact, the exact opposite is true. This is an hour and a half of mostly dead air. Long silent tracking shots to oblivion. Undeveloped subplots. For that matter, undeveloped main plots. Why are Linda and Michelle at the abbey? What’s the fascination with Brother Bernard? Why does Michelle trade in her tank top and short shorts for a Nun’s outfit?
Even though “Solitude” trudges along as slowly as life in a monastery, there was still plenty of potential in this film. Unfortunately, Schlaht ignores that potential, trading it in for a plodding meditation on…well, something.

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