Lachlan MacAldonich (Robert Carlyle) works as a farmer on an organic farm outside of Los Angeles. Previously a Britpop rocker whose promising career was ended by a terrible accident, Lachlan has been running from his past for years. When he’s stopped for a DUI, an earlier drug conviction threatens Lachlan with deportation unless he can prove this would cause extreme hardship for another U.S. citizen. After all these years of hiding from his past, Lachlan must now confront it, dealing with his ex-wife and daughter he hasn’t seen for years, and coming to terms with the fact that he may have to return to the homeland he had left behind.
Robert Carlyle is instantly recognizable from his roles in Trainspotting or 28 Weeks Later, but never has he delivered such an incredibly moving performance like he does in California Solo. As Lachlan MacAldonich, he not only explores the world of a washed up rock star, something few of us can really understand, but the very familiar reality of a person trying to escape their past. It’s this portion of the film that allows the audience to connect with the character. We may not have all been popular rock stars, but we’ve all faced something that forces us to explore parts of our lives that we would rather forget.
Although there are plenty of fantastic lesser characters, it’s Carlyle who carries the entire film. Lachlan is a character who is both searching for help while pushing it away at the same time. This plays perfectly into the way that Lachlan finally realizes that he can’t run from his mistakes. You get the impression that Lachlan unintentionally sabotages himself just so he’ll be forced into facing his problems, and Carlyle does an outstanding job in the role. He creates a character that the audience truly cares about, the outcome being the least important part of the film. Our connection becomes so strong that it doesn’t matter what happens to Lachlan in the end, only that he learns to deal with whatever comes his way.
Written and directed by Marshall Lewy, California Solo isn’t the happiest film out there, but there’s a real power behind what happens, and you’ll leave the film feeling ready to face your own problems. It’s rare that a movie manages to truly inspire, but California Solo does just that. With a fabulous soundtrack, gorgeous scenery, an outstanding lead performance, and a story that can connect with viewers, this is a must see film.
Is California Solo Opening Weekend Worthy?
Absolutely. Robert Carlyle delivers a performance that can’t be missed in an equally strong film. Start grabbing your tickets now. California Solo opens March 1, 2013 at Carlton Cinemas.
California Solo Trailer
California Solo Production Gallery
MORE FROM TORONTO FILM SCENE
- Quebecois comedies get the Hollywood remake treatment
- Cinema Revisited: Gilles Groulx’ Le Chat dans le sac
- TFS Awards Quickie: Shawn Christensen, Oscar-nominated Director of Curfew