Makeup artist by day and rising star of the drag scene by night, Simon (Théodore Pellerin) is a boy like any other. Despite his madness and eccentricity, he needs love. However, he’s looking for it in all the wrong places…

When Simon meets the new recruit at the bar where he performs, Olivier (very good Félix Maritaud), it’s love at first sight! In love, he moves away from his sister and his friends, believing he has found an accomplice both on stage and in life. Olivier, initially charming, turns out to be a manipulator and liar who will lead Simon into a toxic and destructive relationship.

After directing Watchdog and Underground, two very successful first feature films, Sophie Dupuis confirms her immense talent here. With an original and assertive style, the director always films her characters with empathy, regardless of their social background, gender or identity. There is something anthropological in his approach to direction; his way of treating his subject. She immerses herself in an environment that is foreign to her to understand it better. And above all, to love him.

The art of drag is of course a world where performance, fun and entertainment are kings (or queens)! This is why this universe attracts many directors to the cinema, from Some Like It Hot to Priscilla, crazy in the desert. However, rarely have we seen in Quebec cinema the scene of LGBTQ bars, the night and its colorful fauna rendered as well as in SOLO. The film takes us to the heart of the electrifying drag routines, thanks to the superb photo direction of Mathieu Laverdière (a frequent collaborator of Dupuis). The camera moves, jumps, twirls, then focuses on a gesture, a detail. With mastery.

A mention for the queen mother of the bar, Frida, played by Jean Marchand, who is very moving and very accurate.

If SOLO depicts part of the reality and excesses of the drag queen world, it is first and foremost a film about the freedom to live one’s life. And also a film of love, rather of “dislove”. We see Simon in his drag persona as much as the man behind the drag queen. And Pellerin brilliantly embodies both of these two facets.

At the same time, the young man experiences a difficult relationship with his mother, Claire (Anne-Marie Cadieux), a famous singer who returns to Montreal after a long absence. Simon also seeks the love of this inaccessible woman, who chose her illustrious career before her family.

Unfortunately, this character remains too superficial to touch us. The storyline could have deepened the relationship. Dupuis also seems to have lacked inspiration for the secondary characters: the father, the stepmother, the sister… In short, the people who revolve around Simon are quite one-dimensional.

Despite these blunders, SOLO remains a flamboyant, touching and liberating film. The Sophie Dupuis touch is the marriage of sensitivity and freedom. This filmmaker lets her heart speak in every shot.