Set in Montreal’s vivacious drag scene, this tender character study from writer-director Sophie Dupuis (Underground) focuses on a talented young performer whose past and present merge in unexpected ways.
Set in Montreal’s vivacious drag scene, this tender character study from writer-director Sophie Dupuis (Underground) blends emotional intelligence with irresistible flair. Focusing on a talented performer whose past and present merge in unexpected ways, Solo is an incisive tale of desire, dependence, and hard-won self-actualization.
Simon (TIFF ’17 Rising Star Théodore Pellerin) is a skilled makeup artist by day and a sensational drag artist by night. Young and carefree, his energies are overwhelmingly set on honing his act and partying — until he meets Olivier (Félix Maritaud), a handsome, charming fellow drag artist from France. The two become lovers and artistic partners, crafting sexy, flamboyant duets that thrive on their intrinsic chemistry. Just as Simon is getting accustomed to this exciting new relationship, his long-estranged mother, Claire (Quebec screen icon Anne-Marie Cadieux), swoops back into his life. A revered opera singer, Claire is in town for a show — and Simon must work around her schedule if he wants to see her. As Olivier becomes more domineering and Simon struggles to get Claire’s attention, disquieting similarities emerge between lover and mother. Neither Olivier nor Claire seems to truly respect Simon. Both offer just enough love to hook Simon, but prove emotionally unavailable the moment things become complicated.
Dupuis' portrait balances empathy with critical distance: it’s obvious Simon is a good-hearted person with reasonable needs, but it’s just as obvious he’s caught in a pattern of codependence, desperately seeking approval from two strong personalities equally incapable of granting it. In the end, the one person Simon truly needs to commune with is himself.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: mature themes, coarse language, simulated sexual content