Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Nov 28, 2012
    There's a lovely gravity and specificity to the story that transcends instances of bumpy filmmaking.
  2. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Nov 29, 2012
    Even as California Solo plays like a track we've heard before, it's still worth a listen.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Dec 6, 2012
    In some sense, California Solo is like meeting an engaging stranger: At first there's a certain air of enigmatic mystery that makes you want to spend time with them, but eventually things turn awkward and you just want to get away.
  4. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Nov 29, 2012
    Fans can be forgiven for offering this predictable indie some excess generosity, simply because writer-director Marshall Lewy had the good sense to build a movie around such a versatile lead.
  5. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 28, 2012
    In a bravura performance that is the primary don't-miss reason for its existence, he (Carlyle) gives California Solo all he's got; even in scenes that just exist to pass the time, his presence informs the essence of the man he plays and the humanity of the film itself.
  6. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Nov 29, 2012
    Carlyle gives a quietly engaging performance as a Golden State farmworker with a secret in the likable indie California Solo.
  7. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Nov 29, 2012
    Even with its strong supporting cast, I doubt this small, finely observed movie would have seen the commercial light of day without Carlyle in the lead. Amid the deafening roar of big Oscar-bait pictures, I'm glad it's there.
  8. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Nov 24, 2012
    Robert Carlyle's performance compensates for the film's less successful elements and even makes you wonder if they might be strengths.
  9. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Nov 28, 2012
    California Solo doesn't have much story. All of the details above are established in the first five minutes, then the movie becomes a character sketch, carried by its wealth of detail and a fantastic Carlyle performance.
  10. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Feb 28, 2013
    Lewy’s script doesn’t cop out with any sentimental redemption, but neither does it establish why the self-destructive Lachlan deserves our sympathy.
  11. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Nov 25, 2012
    The minor-key film benefits from Robert Carlyle's soulful performance in the central role, bouncing back and forth between dulled resignation and self-destructive anger.
  12. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Nov 29, 2012
    A wry, mournful study of midlife crisis.
  13. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Nov 27, 2012
    Marshall Lewy's film functions largely as a delivery system for Carlyle's performance. Luckily, Carlyle's tough, tender turn is strong enough to carry the load.
  14. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Nov 25, 2012
    A former rock 'n' roller withers on the vine in California Solo, Marshall Lewy's forgettable sophomore effort (after a promising beginning with "Blue State").
  15. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Nov 27, 2012
    Any transformation feels like a device, and any modest hopefulness comes across as simply the unearned wishful thinking of the filmmaker.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Oct 17, 2013
    This film follows Lachlan MacAldonich, a former British rock star, through the inevitable resolution of a lifetime of bad decisions. This isn't a fairy tale; though far from sunny, the promise of a second chance does appear before the film's end. The expertise of this tiny shred of hope further adds to the film's authenticity and emotional impact. Carlyle's performance is deeply honest, and he seems perfectly at home with MacAldonich's rage and fear and regret. The linear narrative expressed isn't what a typical movie-goer would expect, but it works here thanks to an incredibly human story and a good supporting cast. Though there isn't much new ground to tread with the life of a rock star gone wrong, California Solo manages to find its footing in this soulful, truthful tale. Full Review »
  2. Mar 22, 2013
    Excellent human interest story about an Scottish imagrant's problem with a DUI and his struggle to void deportation. Great performance by Robert Carlyle. Love the soundtrack! Full Review »