Sole (Hope Olaide Wilson) is a 17 year old New Yorker. She already lost her mother when the latter gave birth to her. But life becomes more uncertain after her father dies, since he transferred her guardianship over to her estranged grandmother Irene (Lynn Whitfield) in Los Angeles. What we find here is a clash of characters. Sole is a budding activist and an atheist who doesn’t wear makeup while Irene is an archetypal Angeleno, a glamorous, power walking Christian. Again, Sole is one year away from being an adult and that one year feels way too long and confining.
Sole finds, well, the titular Solace, through Jasmine (Chelsea Tavares), her next door neighbor of the same age who turned the house she inherited into a rave punk version of a trap house. I also have to mention that these three characters redefine blackness in their own way. This is especially true for Sole who has to learn some of the mannerisms that most non black people assign to black people. She’s also awkward in comparison to the other characters who know themselves. That quality is important when she discovers her sexuality with Jasmine and her boyfriend Guedado (Luke Rampersad).
Tchaiko Omawale’s film carves Sole well as a character. Wilson’s powerhouse of a performance helps in that regard. And it tries its best with the supporting characters. But the details about these characters felt stereotypical. Irene isn’t your typical bible thumper but all Whitfield, an underrated actress, gets to do is to look forlorn. Her affair with a Pastor Davis (Glynn Turman) and her substance abuse issues also border on judgment. We can say the same for how it portrays Jasmine’s self destructive tendencies. That said, I can see that Wilson and Omawale can do better work in the future.