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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.
I never got to see it. Never showed up in my viewing option.Published 9 days ago by Mary D. Jimenez
I did not go see this movie when it was in theaters because I did not think it was something that would be of interest to me. Read morePublished 11 days ago by S. Gray
My stars are for the performances and the basic themes of the story -- mental illness, homelessness -- and the honesty in which the solutions are few and hard to accomplish. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Sandy
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 1 month ago by Becky M. Brooks