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11 Reviews
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feel good movie European style, 7 April 2003
This review is from: Solas [VHS] [2001] (VHS Tape)
'Solas' manages to concoct an intoxicating mix of hard-hitting tenderness, that makes the positive finale all the more rewarding and the dark humour scattered through the film especially poignant. With no pretension or delusions of glamour whatsoever one is asked to join in the mundane lives of the protagonists - all of whom feel in some way alone and abandoned. 'Solas' explores their loneliness, anger, frustration and despair at very close quarters, the no-frills camerawork adding to the sense that one is somehow invading their intimacy
This is a very human and personal film that moves in a way many films aspire to but very few manage.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful film, 10 Jan. 2005
By 
Mr. S. Crook (Way out west) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I'd agree wholeheartedly with the other reviewers of this film. It is dark, and in parts quite depressing. The ending is uplifting, the film makes it plain that even if opportunities lost cannot be recaptured, second best may be good enough and happiness can come in unexpected forms and from unexpected places.
One word of warning, the subtitling is pretty naff. The letters have no black background or edging, and are practically invisible in some scenes.
Even so, it's well worth watching.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lonley people, 7 May 2010
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This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
an initially depressing and mundane film gradually shows how a lonely 35-ish female copes with a stay by her gentle, non street wise mother, whilst her bad-tempered father is ill in hospital. The apartment is small and dingy; the daughter's attitude is the same; her job is soul destroying; the father of her unborn child unsupportive; and into this dismal environment comes a charming elderly widowed gentleman who, helped by his loyal dog Achilles, finds gentle cracks in their hard-done-by lives and despite all trials achieves the company and family he so much desires - but by very roundabout means. Some startling comedic scenes and a heart-warming ending.

think the word Solas may also mean 'lonely ppersons' rather than alone - may be more appropriate.

the stout staunch mother is brilliantly portrayed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars no expectations, 11 April 2008
By 
P. W. Bunce "oblioandarrow" (Shrivenham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
It's best to watch this film with no expectaions. I rented this from Amazon following their recommendation and checking out the reviews. Fortunately I'd forgotten them when I got around to watching this. I tried one night, watched a bit and realised that I wasn't in the mood. Sometimes you need to watch the first 20 mins of a film to get into it.

When I did watch Solas I struggled through most of it but was finally glad I did. It starts quite bleakly and there is an atmosphere of impending danger. Events unfold very s-l-o-w-l-y. Not very much happens, but you gradually learn about the characters and begin to root for them. There's quite a lot of rejection going on and the film is mostly about how they each respond to that. It's a low key affair that you need to be in the right mood to watch but perseverance brings a little hope.

Alone didn't make me cry, nor did I jump for joy at the end but the whole film was gently life-affirming. It's not preachy at all but shows what can happen when people reach out of themselves with dignity, care, forgiveness, hope and perseverance.

I agree that the subtitles are indistinct in places though the film is still well worth a watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't need laughs to feel uplifted., 14 Dec. 2011
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I expect if this film was British it would be a Loach or Leigh production full of misery and foul-mouthed northerners. The viewer, rather than being edified or uplifted, would swiftly be online researching the most efficient ways of tying a noose.

Instead, the Spanish film Solas (Alone) is about compassion and the milk of human kindness entering the lives of lonely and/or unpleasant people. An older lady comes to the city to stay with her daughter whilst the father is in hospital. The dad's a bully and despite asserting her independence the daughter has inherited something of his belligerence; she won't accept charity but loneliness has led her to reach out to a brute just like her dad; now she's pregnant and he's lost interest.

The saintly mother, insulted by her husband and her daughter, endures everything with limitless patience. Slowly her presence brings warmth back into the girl's cold and damp apartment. Especially touching is the friendship she kindles with the lonely old gent downstairs. You want her to leave the hospitalised peasant and marry him instead, but that isn't realistic.

As I implied, this movie could have been pretty hard going, and it certainly helps that the actress playing the daughter is quite beautiful (reminded me of Larsson's girl with the dragon tattoo). If Almodovar had done this it would have been a camp affair full of pillow fights and girly chat and transexuals; easier on the eye but less serious-minded: also less moving. These people all have their pride but as the story unfolds they learn that pride doesn't have to create isolation if you just reach out to people in the simplest way.

Excellent.
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47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly superb, humanist picture, 13 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Solas [VHS] [2001] (VHS Tape)
I had the good fortune of stumbling upon 'Solas' at the annual Spanish Film Festival in Cape Town last year (2001) without ever having heard of the movie or the stars or the director. In other words, no hype. No reviews read. No word from anyone having seen the movie before I did and thus taking it upon themselves to impart on me , in their infinate film wisdom, that it was 'good'.
As a result, I was able to watch the movie with a mind which was a blank slate; and I came away smiling. Solas is a seriously good and enjoyable humanist melodrama that should not be passed up if you get the opputunity to see it. Great, textured and believable performances add to the magic of this movie which pulls you in and makes you fall in love with the charcters.
If you are looking for a movie devoid of hype and skin deep glitz or the latest portentious Oscar vying performance, Solas will leave you smiling with your heart strings tugged (not wrestled over) and your mind given a solid working over.
A movie that will leave you satisfied, to the tips of your toes. Topp stuff.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real People, real life, 29 May 2006
This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I was really impressed with this film, Benito Zambrano's main one to date and thought the acting and direction made it very plausible and reflective of true to life experiences, both of women, families and culturally within Spain. It's not a happy or easy film particularly and I think you need to put a bit of audience work into it to get the most out of it, otherwise it might fly a bit over your head. It makes a change from Almodovar's reign on Spanish movies and is a lot better.

Maria (Fernandez) is a product of her environment if ever I saw one, and you begin to wonder if things can ever change for the better. Her routine consisting of getting by with alcohol, a one sided occasional relationship with a disinterested trucker, a child like mother and disowned by her own oppressive father it's a wonder she manages to hold down her miserable cleaning job to pay for her cheap and nasty flat. A lot of background is in the form of blink and you'll miss it dialogue which like the film is deep but under stated. Despite stealing for her alcohol dependency and being defensive with her mother under the strain she is trying to make a life for herself and shows some good qualities underneath, rejecting the lecherous bar owner and helping care for her mother for example. Her character and behaviour is really destructive in it's self preservatory mode but sadening and fascinating at the same time. Everybody wants something from Maria but seemingly noone wants to give anything positive back. The similarly verbally defunct mother after placating her husband for several decades has her own story as well as her history and future story with Maria. Interestingly her mother and later herself develop a friendship with Maria's neighbour (all five main characters relate to the title Solas meaning alone) that leads the story into another direction/tangent. My only criticism is towards the end it seemed to drift a bit to me and I found the ending unsatisfactory and a bit unrealistic/unecessary. I can only assume it means to show that things are temporary and situations/people can change.

I've read a few bad reviews for this film, normally revloving around some presumed slight against patriachal systems or offending feminists, but I can't see any grounds on either front - in fact if anything I feel the opposite. It's along the neo-realist/humanist front; not sentimental, a bit grim, a bit shocking, a bit sad and I think it's a shame it doesn't get more attention. Won 35 awards including at Tokyo, Brussels and Berlin and was nominated for 11 Goyas (Spanish Oscars).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating, disturbing yet heartwarming, 19 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I bought this film several years back and loved it, lost it, so bought again. Set in the city, the film confronts the issues of female suppression and the conflicts of outdated, yokel ideas and modern culture. It probes to the very depths of human weaknesses and inner strengths. I have shown this to my A level Spanish students who sit in silence throughout, totally drawn into the story and the characters who are portrayed. Very moving, disturbing and upsetting at times, but ultimately uplifting.. I would definitely recommend a look.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric doesn't cover it, 3 Feb. 2012
This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
How these two amazingly drawn characters reach an endpoint is beyond me. You know that a family torn apart when a child moves on from the simple upbringing will drive a edge down the centre - but for these lives to rejoin still makes me reel with shock. The performances are beautiful and like I said atmospheric doesn't cover it. Very moving but ovrall enjoyable film - a must see.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 16 May 2011
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This review is from: Solas [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
If you are interested in Spanish films, you'll love this one! One of the best. Beautiful, well observed, quiet but powerful at the same time. You won't forget this film.
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Solas [DVD] [2001]
Solas [DVD] [2001] by Benito Zambrano (DVD - 2001)
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