Seven great actors for seven great questions: this is the strength of Solos, a miniseries produced by Amazon Prime Studios. The cast is stellar and confirms a trend inaugurated by Netflix of bringing actors from the big screen to the small one. Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, Anthony Mackie, Nicole Beharie, Constance Wu and Uzo Aduba, each with their own stage presence, give life to monologues set in futuristic situations which are still realistic. It is the true to life aspect of the narratives that makes the performances so intense.
What is wonderful about this production is to be found, neither in the special effects which are reduced to a minimum, nor the unoriginal science fiction references, but in the narrative technique and undoubted skills of the leading actors. They interact as in a theatrical monologue, recounting their past, present and future worries. Theirs are dramas that we all face, although accentuated by advanced technology.
“If you travel into the future, can you escape your past? If you met yourself, what would you see? How far would you travel to meet yourself? Would you wish you could erase the worst day of your life? Who decides who has the right to be in the world?” These are the questions dealing with fundamental issues that confront the characters. They include memory, the right to life, family relationships, illness, regrets. The problems are amplified by the unusual scenic setting and resonate powerfully with the audience’s own experiences.
As small cameos giving rise to deep meditations, these short episodes are unrelenting in their development, although they could not be described as “entertaining.” Individual characters and their “dialogic monologues” remain circumscribed without there being any development of plot, even if there are sporadic connections between the episodes.
The directors of Solos have no desire to be appreciated on account of the complexity of the plots devised. The episodes should be taken as brief, yet profound meditations on life. They are to be contemplated rather than closely followed, as one lets oneself be emotionally transported by the pathos produced by masterful performances. They are solos of a humanity isolated in a post-Covid world, a world which, however, has not abandoned the need to feel united with others in facing the same destiny, and the same, tormenting and insoluble questions.