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In "The Soloist," an emotionally soaring drama about the redemptive power of music, journalist Steve Lopez (Downey Jr.) discovers Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (Foxx), a former classical music prodigy, playing his violin on the streets of L.A. As Lopez endeavors to help the homeless man find his way back, a unique friendship is formed, one that transforms both their lives.
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
Stills from The Soloist (Click for larger image)
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Featurette: An Unlikely Friendship: Making The Soloist
Featurette: Kindness, Courtesy and Respect: Mr. Ayers + Mr. Lopez
Featurette: One Size Does Not Fit All: Addressing Homelessness in Los Angeles
Featurette: Beth's Story
Additional Scenes: Deleted Scenes
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Top customer reviews
His perserverance of not only writing the story but helping the man behind the story is touching. I did think the movie could have been abbreviated a bit in some places, but overall, for anyone that still has feelings, this is a thumbs up.