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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.
If you're looking for a movie that is a mood lifter, this probably isn't the one, but it's not a complete downer, either. And, it's based on a true story. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Becky M. Brooks
THE SOLOIST is a very good movie, and the performances of Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx if possible are better than the movie. Read morePublished 25 days ago by James L. Woolridge
Awesome movies, these two man should do more movies together.Published 26 days ago by Marie Auguste
Exceptional depiction of Nathanial Ayers! Bravo for putting a real face to mental illness and changing my view of the mentally challenged in the world.Published 1 month ago by TeeNanny
more about Robert Downey Jr. character "coming to terms" with a mentally challenged expose for the LA TimesPublished 1 month ago by jkook
Great acting, but I don't get into mind movies all that often. My wife is a mental health therapist and she absolutely loved this one.Published 2 months ago by Carlos Ramirez