The Soloist features the real life story of homeless, talented musician Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) and Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) the LA Times author who finds him admiring a Beethoven statue in a park one fated day. As Steve gets deeper and deeper into writing his story he also delves deeper and deeper into the homeless and mentally impaired world of Nathaniel Ayers. Over 90,000 people are currently homeless in Greater LA and the Director Joe Wright does not hesitate to show an unflinching and often Purgatory-like view of their rough lifestyle.
It’s difficult to pinpoint one reason why I really enjoyed watching this film. I can tell you, however, that the combination of great acting especially by Foxx who never drops out of character, the images, and recurring Beethoven music – make this a poignant and touching film.
One of the themes in the movie touches on the healing powers of music, something many KMFA listeners comment on during the membership drives. In one scene of the film, Ayers plays his cello to a group of homeless people who sit stunned and awed. In all of their chaotic lives, this moment of calmness is a refuge from the rigors of living on the streets and it’s palpable.
It’s not an obvious summer blockbuster flick with no doomsday events, aliens, or time travel, but it is a real story about a real musician. If you enjoyed movies like The Red Violin, Shine, and Amadeus, then this is a must see.
Catch The Soloist at The Alamo Drafthouse.
Judy Watts, Development Coordinator