Hanh, Solo

Rating:

It’s a terrible pun. I’ll allow it.

Main Cast: Hanh Nguyen, J. Dancy

Directors: Jason Taylor, David Dadich Jr., Tristan Seyech

What happens to your life when you’re so worried about what will happen that you aren’t paying attention to what is happening? That’s what Hanh is about to find out.

Hanh, Solo is the brainchild of Hanh Nguyen and Jason Taylor. It’s the story of Hanh, a young woman in flux. She lives in Philadelphia, has a job she doesn’t love, just broke up with a boyfriend she didn’t like, and is generally indecisive, anxious, and adrift.

We live a week with Hanh, beginning at the end and flashing back. That’s risky, but it works very, very well. We flash to the end of the week only one time, when we flash back we stay in that timeline.

During this week Hanh does some soul-searching about the direction her life is headed, and how she wants to alter that direction. Having been accused of never changing, she is determined to do so.

Hanh, Solo lives or dies on its performances, like any character driven film. And in this case it most definitely lives. Hanh Nguyen has considerable skill with subtle physical comedy. Hanh (the character) can be the human embodiment of awkward one moment and switch to sweetly vulnerable or slyly funny on a dime. Nguyen wrote this character, presumably knowing she would play it, and she’s terrific with both the comedy and the drama that is the life of Hanh (the character).

The other two performances I really like are those of Patrick Hickman as Hanh’s ex-boyfriend Pat, and Daniel Imperiale as Dan the Bartender. Pat manages to be well developed without a lot of screen time and Hickman really gets a lot of mileage out of his scenes. Imperiale’s role is quite small but he has a lovely little scene with Hanh that is both written and performed beautifully.

A few of the other actors don’t resonate quite as well, but it’s more a few stiff scenes than it is wholesale acting bedlam. I would also like to point out that IMDb says this movie was made on a $1,000 budget. If that is the case, the finished product is astonishing. It makes me want to see this group of writers, directors, and actors be handed a big, fat, major motion picture budget and watch the magic happen.   

Hanh, Solo casts a sweet, funny light on the feeling of being unmoored that is particular to young adulthood. I saw myself in Hanh, and both of my children. And, well, basically everybody. Surviving the turbulence of your twenties should come with some sort of medal. The film is well written, skillfully directed, and the main parts are very well acted. If you get the chance to see Hanh, Solo, definitely take it (you can find it on both Amazon and Vimeo). I look forward to seeing more of Nguyen’s work.

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