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Sometimes people randomly cross paths, and forever will be changed. That's the subtle, yet profound, message of The Soloist, a deeply moving and deeply human film about people and what, and whom, they connect with. Robert Downey Jr., who is effortlessly charismatic, plays Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, whose job it is to report on the character and characters, of Southern California. But even a (slightly) jaded reporter can be profoundly touched by a story he reports on, and then allows to unfold in real time. The subject of Lopez's column is Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx, also in a stellar turn), a homeless street musician whose lovely music--played on a battered two-string violin--Lopez hears one day on a walk not far from the Times office. Lopez learns Ayers once attended Juilliard before mental illness sent him into a spiral, and the column detailing Ayers' journey touches the community--as well as both men. The film (based on Lopez's book, follows the halting journey of their friendship, and how sometimes people's lives can't be fixed. Director Joe Wright (Atonement) cast real homeless Angelenos in the many street and social services scenes, giving the film an even more heart-wrenching and realistic patina. If the film doesn't always live up to its high aspirations (the trippy effects, which supposedly show what Ayers sees when he hears Beethoven, are straight out of a 1968 light show), it nonetheless has a big heart. And in an era in which newspapers are struggling to survive, it's heartening to see a contemporary story about a newspaper that can still affect change. --A.T. Hurley
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Maybe the director didn't know what he wanted the movie to be, or where to go with it.
Beethoven and music are Ayres' path to transcendence, and the way Beethoven's work is handled in the film makes this point clearly.
It made the world of the mentally ill homeless excruciating real and made me ashamed to be part of a society that cares so little.
Jamie Foxx is excellent in this movie, as a homeless schizophrenic cello player on the streets of LA. Read morePublished 3 days ago by NoCellPledge
Why is it the black guy is the bum loser and you have the great white guy. This movie sucked.Published 10 days ago by Mr. Big
I truly love Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx in this movie. It touches on homeless people and it was very touching and enjoyable to watch.Published 22 days ago by Kayette Montcalm
I have read and enjoyed the Steve Lopez column in the Los Angeles Times for many years and was looking forward to seeing this story. I was very disappointed at the way Mr. Read morePublished 1 month ago by inkless
Great for use with a program on building character/values. Good story, well told and good acting.Published 1 month ago by Doris Woodruff-Filbey