Review: The Soloist

Chick 1 says:soloist2

Yay!  One of my I Can’t Wait movies is out!  Robert Downey Jr. , Joe Wright, & Jamie Foxx.  Sigh.  I am happy.

What I Liked: This really is a touching powerful story.  Based on a series of articles by real life LA Times journalist Steve Lopez (RDJ), it follows his friendship with homeless virtuoso Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx).    Downey is always watchable & reliable & he doesn’t disappoint here.  Foxx is spot on as a man ravaged by schizophrenia.  As a former social worker who spent 5 years working with the mentally ill, a lot of this movie rang true for me. Ayers’ frenetic speech (often a mechanism to try to shut out the madness) is frustrating & annoying.  I suspect this is a combination of a well written script & Foxx’s performance.  The difficulty truly connecting with others, the frightening and sudden mood changes all felt real.  Director Joe Wright also used real homeless in many scenes & it shows.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Downey’s laugh in one scene was genuine.  The storyline with Lopez & his ex wife is really sweet as well with a nice performance by Catherine Keener as the ex.  (This was added for dramatic conflict.  Lopez is happily married to his 1st wife today.)

What I Didn’t Like: The movie is a little slow at first with nothing but RDJ’s charisma to keep you invested.  Wright explores the theme of schizophrenia well and I was hopeful to see the power of music explored also.  But I never really felt the movie reached the lush emotional connection it promised.  And, Joe, we all have Real Media Player.  We’ve seen the effect before.

Bottom Line: A moving story about the power of messy, real friendship & the value of each person, no matter how broken.  Worth full admission.

Chick 2 says:

In an age where “successful” movies seem forced to fit certain clichés, The Soloist recognizes a true story that is worth telling, taking only a few liberties from what actually happened.  Robert Downey Jr. plays a journalist who discovers a former musical prodigy, played by Jamie Foxx, who is now homeless resulting from the crippling effects of schizophrenia.  RDJ’s Steve Lopez is looking for his next big story idea but instead finds someone who could genuinely use his help. Lopez is moved to real action, whether or not he admits to himself that Foxx’s Ayers actually needs him and that he is now responsible somewhat for the welfare of another human being.  Another character’s (the well-meaning self-proclaimed Christian) actions are lost in rhetoric when it comes to the terms of “in or out”, while the selfish is truly motivated by the human desire to help someone regardless of how it hurts or if he actually succeeds.  In the end, the movie asks the question if Ayers has actually been helped or not, but answers that it doesn’t matter because hearts have loved and been loved in the process.  The end didn’t need to be “Hollywooded” to make an impact.

Director Joe Wright is truly a genius story-teller, aided greatly by cinematographer Seamus McGarvey.  Images from the movie would make beautiful stills and you are engrossed in the music, a central character, by unconventional camera techniques that take sound and translate it to the visual.  Some of the moments were a bit too long for a musically uneducated person such as myself, but definitely added to the story.

Posted on by admin in Reviews, The 2000s 1 Comment

One Response to Review: The Soloist

  1. wj11

    Ouch! Lay off the cinematography. I thought it was genius. Check out ASC this month.

Add a Comment