Directed by Joe Wright
Written by Susannah Grant (screenplay), Steve Lopez (book)
Cast Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Justin Martin, Nelsan Ellis, Lisa Gay Hamilton
Reviewed by: Sari
The Soloist is a true story inspired by a book written by journalist Steve Lopez.
The movie starts with a violin, a homeless guy and a journalist, who is in need to find a new subject for his column and ends up meeting a homeless guy called Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx). The journalist happens to be Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.), Los Angeles Times columnist who immediately sees something special in Nathaniel and starts to investigate his past. He discovers that Nathaniel was once a very talented cellist, who also studied in Juilliard School for gifted, but who dropped out after the second year due to mental health problems.
Steve is intriqued by Nathaniel and these two get closer. Steve finds himself wondering among homeless people in the streets of Los Angeles and gets a whole new picture of their situation. Steve now has a mission. He wants to get Nathaniel's life back on it's track and uses his contacts to try and help him out. Eventually he realizes that big concert halls and public events are not meant for Nathaniel but he is still there to help him and even gets him an apartment of his own. Eventually Nathaniel shows his darker side and Steve gets frightened and stays out of his life for a while, but at the end these two people from two different worlds are still able to remain friends.
This was yet again an unbeliavably strong performance by Jamie Foxx, which was not a big suprise after seeing him in the legendary role of Ray Charles in the movie Ray. Here the role is still so much more challenging. Playing a mentally unstable, musically gifted genius is not a role for everyone, but Jamie Foxx nailed it. Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez was no less performance, and he once again proved to be one talented and strong actor, even though the main focus of this film is on Nathaniel.
This movie is an eye-opening experience and really gets you to think about the less fortunate homeless people who live among us. There are so many untold stories behind those faces and tired-looking eyes. So many chances, so many lost talents, like Nathaniel.
Considering this The Soloist was not just a story of Nathaniel. It also represented the situation of homeless people here in U.S. In a way it was a little reflection of our society and the sad fact that so much more should be done to help these people. In our society we have learned to turn our heads away from all the misery and sadness, concentrating on our own success and material needs. Hopefully this movie gets people to talk and even creates some kind of action to help all these people in need.
I was deeply touched by this story and the message it delivered. Beautiful, soulful story, that will for sure linger inside my mind for quite some time.