The Soloist (2009) Poster

The Soloist (2009)

  • Rate: 6.6/10 total 23,106 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Biography | Music
  • Release Date: 24 April 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: 117 min
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The Soloist (2009)


The Soloist 2009tt0821642.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Soloist (2009)
  • Rate: 6.6/10 total 23,106 votes 
  • Genre: Drama | Biography | Music
  • Release Date: 24 April 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: 117 min
  • Filming Location: Biltmore Hotel – 506 S. Grand Avenue, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Budget: $60,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $31,670,931(USA)(5 July 2009)
  • Director: Joe Wright
  • Stars: Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr. and Catherine Keener
  • Original Music By: Dario Marianelli   
  • Soundtrack: String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132, Mvmt. I and II
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS
  • Plot Keyword: Musician | Los Angeles Times | Journalist | Columnist | Shopping Cart

Writing Credits By:

  • Susannah Grant (screenplay)
  • Steve Lopez (book "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music")

Known Trivia

  • In the film, Steve Lopez is portrayed as divorced. However, his real life counterpart remains happily married. Lopez said that while having himself portrayed as recently single in the film was a bit weird, it was much more important to him that the film makers captured the themes of his articles rather than absolute facts.
  • Most of the homeless people shown in the film are actually homeless.
  • The film makers shot on “skid row” in Los Angeles, which is known for being home to one of the largest stable populations of transient persons (homeless) in the United States.
  • In the scene that Nathaniel Ayers and Steve Lopez attend a rehearsal concert, all the seats are covered with canvas. This was not cinematic imagery; this is actually done in some concert halls during rehearsals to reflect a more accurate sound as if the seats were being occupied.
  • The real Nathaniel Ayers was invited to view the filming of the scenes at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, but opted on the day to set up his cello and music across the street and continue playing saying “I really got something going here. I think I’m going to stay and play this just a little bit longer.” Steve Lopez spoke about this incident in an interview conducted by Dave Davies for National Public Radio’s program Fresh Air in April 2008. He added: “I look(ed) across (the street from Disney Hall) and there he is sawing away, as he calls it. And inside this building there are maybe three hundred people, the LA Philharmonic, the cast, the crew, are shooting a movie about his life. And I said to the producer Gary Foster ‘You know what Gary, we picked the right name for this thing, The Soloist. There he is.'”
  • As of April 2009, Nathaniel Ayers “has a girlfriend and is doing reasonably well” according to Steve Lopez. He is also taught himself to play the flute.
  • Despite his distrust of two-dimensional images, Nathaniel Ayers did attend the premiere of this film in Los Angeles with his family, who flew in for the occasion. He rarely watches movies or television.
  • Several members of the Lamp Community, a housing and care center for the mentally ill, appeared in the film and attended the Los Angeles premiere and after party. Nathaniel Ayers is a resident and beneficiary of Lamp.
  • Originally planned for a November 2008 release date, the film was held back due to Paramount’s tightening of the number of films it releases per year and released late April of 2009. The trailer continued to run in theaters with November as the release date.
  • This is the second time Robert Downey Jr. has portrayed a real-life reporter. He previously portrayed San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery in Zodiac.

Goofs: Factual errors: In the movie, Steve takes Nathaniel to listen to Beethoven's Third Symphony. In the DVD bonus material an interview with the real Nathaniel and Steve confirms that this took place, and that it was the Third Symphony. Reminiscing, the real Nathaniel then plays Steve an excerpt on his cello…except that he actually plays the second movement of Beethoven's better known Fifth Symphony – not the Third.

Plot: A Los Angeles journalist befriends a homeless Juilliard-trained musician, while looking for a new article for the paper. Full summary »  »

Story: In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. That is when he discovers Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even through his half-broken instruments. Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help both him and the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. However, Lopez's good intentions run headlong in the hard realities of the strength of Ayers' personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless. Regardless, Lopez and Ayers must find a way to conquer their deepest anxieties and frustrations to hope for a brighter future for both of them.Written by Kenneth Chisholm (  


Synopsis: The film opens up in the early morning. A man is cycling by as a paper boy is driving around delivering newspapers. A newspaper hits a door and the main articles title is Life Has A Mind by Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.). Steve Lopez is cycling around town and goes in the opposite direction of a bunch of cyclists. Lopez gives an internal monologue chronicling a biking accident which occurred near a construction site. His bike hits a bump and he hits his head badly on the pavement. In the next scene hes in an ambulance being driven to a busy hospital. While in the emergency room, Lopez writes down his thoughts as if writing an article. He is given an MRI and after being cleared, takes a taxi home. He checks his messages (there are none), continues to narrate into a tape recorder.

The next morning, he goes into work at the L.A. Times. He continues to talk to himself as he walks through the halls about how much he hates hospitals and health care under the governor. The Editor of the L.A. Times, Mary (Catherine Keener), walks down the cubicles past Steve as he is greeted by the people in the neighboring cubicles. Steve and Mary banter about an article Steve was supposed to write before his accident but he tells her that he wont write it as she goes off to her office.

Steve is then sitting outside on the boardwalk drinking a soda. He hears a violin playing and starts to walk around the plaza until he finds the sources. He finds Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), playing a two string violin under a statue. Steve immediately realizes that Ayers is a schizophrenic and tries to walk away but Ayers follows him for a bit until Steve introduces himself. Ayers tells Steve that he once went to Julliard.

Steve is in his office making a call to the Registrars office at Julliard when Mary sits down next to him. She tells him that the LA times stock situation is looking pretty dire before switching the conversation over to their son. Mary tells Steve to call him but Steve says that whenever he calls their son wont call him back. He sends her away stating that he is trying to find a story before deadline. The Registrars office tells Steve that there is no record of a Nathaniel Ayers ever attending Julliard and then hangs up on Steve. He says hes not taking the blood story but as he crosses violinist off his list of potential stories its clear hes out of options. He is then seen sitting in front of a young nurse preparing to draw blood from him. As part of his blood test, he goes to urinate in a cup. While hes peeing he drops the cup and slips when he gets a callback from Julliard. The Secretary tells Steve that she only checked the graduates but when she checked all students, she found that Nathaniel Ayers dropped out of Julliard during his second year.

That night, Steve returns to where he met Nathaniel and narrates the content of the article Points West detailing how Nathaniel is missing while calling him shy. Steve drives back to his apartment and finds that raccoons ruined his lawn. His neighbor tells him that coyote urine will keep the raccoons away. Steve spends the night walking around his messy apartment while listening to music. The next morning, Steve is calling the head of the coyote urine business when he sees Nathaniel on the side of a busy intersection. He stops his car. Nathaniel turns away from him and continues to play his 2 string violin and doesnt speak. Steve waits patiently against the gate for Nathaniel to finish up. Nathaniel plays the same group of notes over and over until he cant do it anymore. Steve tells Nathaniel that he wants to write a piece about him and how he ended up on the street. Steve asks him about his family, but Nathaniel cant focus and give direct answers and continues to ramble, even asking if Steve is the pilot of a plane flying overhead at one point.

Steve calls Nathaniels sister to learn more about him. A flashback shows a young Nathaniel walking down the street carrying a cello. He met with his music teacher and went on and on about how much he admired Beethovens work. He played the cello for his teacher and the teacher thought that he was an incredibly gifted student. Instead of playing sports, his sister said that all Nathaniel would do was play the Cello. Nathaniels mother told him that when she listened to him play, she heard the voice of God. Steve writes an article detailing what he learned from Nathaniels sister. After it is published, an old lady reads it and sends Steve her old cello with the request that he give it to Nathaniel with her prayers. As Steve is driving through the same busy intersection, he almost hits Nathaniel who is picking up litter from the middle of the street (almost being hit multiple times by other cars) and gets him to walk over to the side. Steve is concerned about Nathaniels safety and the cello and arranges for Nathaniel to keep the cello in the office of a homeless shelter LAMP (under the stipulation that Nathaniel also stay at the same shelter). Steve lets Nathaniel play the instrument on the street for a test run. Nathaniel plays for Steve and Steve is visibly moved by the piece. Steve drives away with the cello to take it to the shelter.

The shelter is located in a bad neighborhood where a bunch of homeless people are gathered on the sidewalk outside the gate. He pulls up to the gate and asks to speak to someone named David. He and David put the cello in his office and Steve sticks around to wait for Nathaniel. He sees all the people with their problems and seems a bit troubled. He goes outside and continues to wait for Nathaniel. He mingles with several homeless people. He waits until nightfall and then goes home. He starts to put tie up a bag of coyote urine onto a tree when the bag explodes on him.

The next morning Steve is seen interviewing an Atheist road-side cleanup worker on the side of the road. when he gets a phone call and hears Nathaniel playing the Cello. He goes back to the shelter and sees Nathaniel playing for the people gathered around.

Another flashback shows Nathaniel in his first apartment and subsequent performances at Julliard. At one point he is surrounded by people and in the next he is in an empty auditorium. His musical performances grow more erratic and his paranoia starts to set in as a voice says they can hear your thoughts Nathaniel. He runs out of the auditorium and runs away because the voices tell him to. He hides in a closet and lets the voices overwhelm him. He calls his ‘mother’ from a payphone and shares the fact that he cant always tell what is going on in the world around him and that he cant differentiate whats real and whats not and drops the phone and the recording "please hang up and try your call again" is heard. It’s obvious he wasn’t actually talking to his mother but rather a dial tone.

Steve asks David if he will diagnose Nathanials problem. David says that it would be pointless. Steve asks if theres a medication that can help Nathaniel but David tells him that the last thing he needs is another person telling him he needs medication. Steve goes to find Nathaniel but Nathaniel is gone. Steve goes out to his car and just sits there, observing the interactions of the people outside before going to find Nathaniel. He walks past some drug users and down the street before seeing the police around a dead body. As he looks down to see the person, he sees Nathaniel next to him. Nathaniel finds a place to sleep and starts cleaning the area a little with a broom before setting up his bed. He tells Steve that he will end up like Beethoven and lie down and die. Steve spends the night with Nathaniel on the street and they talk. Steve tells Nathaniel that it is no place for him to live, but Nathaniel is adamant that this is where he should be.

The next morning Steve offers to bring Nathaniel to see an Orchestra perform Beethoven. Nathaniel watches the orchestra with Steve and as they perform, Nathaniel focuses only on the music and imagines each sound striking up a bright color.

Later on, Steve and Mary are at a karaoke bar with their coworkers and Steve is telling her about Nathaniels enjoyment of the music and the grace Nathaniel gets listening to music. Steve finds Nathaniels love of music to be awe inspiring. He upsets Mary when he tells her the he has never loved anything like Nathaniel loves music. He tries to recover from that but Mary leaves and tells him the Mayor wants to talk to him. The Mayor announces that he intends to add 50 million dollars in aid to the citys homeless community.

Nathaniel visits Steve at the office. Steve is busy and tells Nathaniel he cant perform in front of the building, so Nathaniel waits on the other side of the building. He calls Graham Clayton (Tom Hollander), a cellist, to rehabilitate Nathaniel. Steve convinces David to help find Nathaniel an apartment where Nathaniel can live and rehabilitation. Nathaniel doesnt want to live in an apartment. He frustrates Steve but then starts to question Steve about his family. Steve was once married to Mary, but they divorced. Their son, Tom is in college and wont talk to Steve. Steve tells Nathaniel that if he doesnt go to the apartment, he will be on his own.

Another flashback details Nathaniels mental breakdown in his old apartment. He is slowly driven insane by the voices until he cries on the floor of the apartment. A week later, Steve and Nathaniel move Nathaniel into the place where he will live and practice. It is a small apartment with a bed and a bathroom. There is enough room for Nathaniel to be comfortable and practice, but Nathaniel is afraid to enter the room. Steve patiently tells Nathaniel that he can do it. Eventually, Nathaniel enters the room with his stuff. Nathaniel doesnt like the room because it doesnt have the natural sounds of the city and reminds him of the night he spent going insane.

Steve introduces Graham and Nathaniel. Graham brings Nathaniel the sheet music for Bach to begin Nathaniels rehabilitation. Graham is impressed by Nathaniels skill but notices that it needs to be refined. Graham tells Nathaniel that God gave Nathaniel a gift and that Nathaniel shouldnt waste it. Nathaniel gets upset with Graham and declares that Steve is his God. Steve gets frustrated with Nathaniel for being so attached to him. Steve asks David to help Nathaniel with psychiatry and medication and tells David that if he puts Nathaniel into forced rehab for two weeks, that might be enough to get Nathaniel straightened out.

Steve goes to an award show which honors Steves achievement in bringing Nathaniels story to focus. Nathaniel calls Steve and tells him all the things he needs. Steve hands the phone off to Mary, and she listens to all the things Nathaniel says. She gets drunk and tells Steve that hes good at avoiding responsibility. Steve calls her a drunk and tells her she needs someone to drive her home.

Graham calls Steve the next day and tells Steve that Nathaniel should have a recital. At the recital Nathaniel wheels out his card and takes out his cello before sitting down in front of the audience. As Nathaniel starts to play, he begins to have a psychotic episode and hear the voices. He experiences a flashback to when his sister was taking care of him after he fled Julliard. She tries to give him a bowl of soup, but Nathaniel insists that it is poison and instead takes the spoon and starts force feeding her instead. Graham puts his hand on Nathaniel to bring him back to reality, but Nathaniel freaks out and the movie flashes between Nathaniel swinging a chair at Graham and the younger Nathaniel swinging the tray at his sister before he runs out the building. Steve picks up Nathaniels cello and looks for Nathaniel with his car. Again the movie flashes back to when Nathaniel freaked out on his sister and him running away with her following him in her car int he middle of winter and asking him where he is going and where he would sleep.

As Steve searches for Nathaniel, he sees the police launching a large scale arrest of the homeless and drug users. Steve finds police guarding a bloody shirt and is told that a bunch of kids with baseball bats beat a man brutally. Steve, convinced it’s Nathaniel, checks every hospital in the area looking for him. He spends all night looking for him. The next morning, Steve gets a call from David telling him that Nathaniel is at the shelter eating breakfast and that he spent the night in the apartment. Steve visits Nathaniel at his apartment and returns his cello. Steve gives Nathaniel a miniature Beethoven and asks him if he did a good job looking out for him. Jennifer, Nathaniels sister, is ready to take over as Nathaniels caretaker. Steve leaves him the forms and tells him to read them before he signs them.

Nathanial reads the forms and throws them around the room when he realizes that its about his schizophrenic state of mind. Nathaniel gets violent with Steve, pushing and slapping him, and tells him that if he sees him again hell gut him like a fish. Steve runs out of the apartment the minute he gets free and leaves Nathaniel to the voices.

A little while later, Steve is taking shots in a bar. He visits Mary at her house. They reminisce about when they moved into the house with Tom. Steve comes to grip with his failures as a father and a husband. He apologizes to Mary and tells her that he thought he was helping someone with a gift who had lost their way. He tells her about what happened with Nathaniel and how he doesnt know how to fix it. He tells her that he officially resigns from everything since he cant get it right. Mary tells him that Steve would never have been able to cure Nathaniel just like he would never prevent a earthquake and that all Steve could do was be his friend.

Jennifer flies into L.A. to see her brother. Steve drives her to the shelter and she goes in to see him. The shelter is not as crowded as it was before the cops arrested people. Jennifer sees Nathaniel sitting and slowly approaches him. They sit together for a while as Steve watches from the car. Nathaniel remembers that Jennifer is his sister and reaches out his hand to her and she takes it. Steve sits outside dangling his car keys until the pair come out. Nathaniel looks down at Steve and apologizes for threatening Steve. Steve tells Nathaniel that its ok. Mr. Ayers, Im honored to be your friend.

Steve begins his narrative epilogue as Mary, Steve, Jennifer and Nathaniel watch an orchestra perform. A year ago, he met Nathaniel and thought that he could help him. His mental state and well being havent changed but he no longer lives on the street. Psychiatrists tell Steve that his friendship alone gives balance to chemical misfire in his brain, but he cant attest to it. Steve tells himself that Nathaniels friendship and courage has made him a better person. They watch the orchestra perform in silence.

Credits roll and the audience reads the following: Mr. Ayers still sleeps inside and is a member of LAMP. He continues to play the cello, as well as violin, bass, piano, guitar, trumpet, French horn, drums and harmonica. Mr. Lopez continues to write his column for the L.A. Times. He is learning to play the guitar. There are 90,000 homeless people on the streets of Greater Los Angelos.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Rikki Lea Bestall known as co-producer
  • Tim Bevan known as executive producer
  • Josephine Davies known as associate producer
  • Eric Fellner known as executive producer
  • Gary Foster known as producer
  • Eric Heffron known as co-producer (as Eric N. Heffron)
  • Russ Krasnoff known as producer
  • Jeff Skoll known as executive producer
  • Leeann Stonebreaker known as co-producer
  • Patricia Whitcher known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Jamie Foxx known as Nathaniel Ayers
  • Robert Downey Jr. known as Steve Lopez
  • Catherine Keener known as Mary Weston
  • Tom Hollander known as Graham Claydon
  • LisaGay Hamilton known as Jennifer Ayers (as Lisagay Hamilton)
  • Nelsan Ellis known as David Carter
  • Rachael Harris known as Leslie Bloom
  • Stephen Root known as Curt Reynolds
  • Lorraine Toussaint known as Flo Ayers
  • Justin Martin known as Young Nathaniel
  • Kokayi Ampah known as Bernie Carpenter
  • Patrick Tatten known as Paul Jr.
  • Susane Lee known as Marisa (as Susane E. Lee)
  • Marcos De Silvas known as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
  • Ilia Volok known as Harry Barnoff
  • Michael Bunin known as Adam Crane
  • Michael Nowak known as Julliard Conductor
  • Jena Malone known as Cheery Lab Tech
  • Octavia Spencer known as Troubled Woman
  • David Jean Thomas known as Angry Homeless Man
  • Lemon known as Uncle Tommy (as Lemon Anderson)
  • Kevin Michael Key known as Homeless Transvestite
  • Moya Brady known as Barely Dressed Woman
  • Orlando Ashley known as LAMP Homeless Guy
  • Artel Great known as Leon
  • J.J. Boone known as Shouting Woman
  • Annie McKnight known as LAMP Advocate
  • Bernadette Speakes known as Homeless Lady
  • Anna Levin known as Leeann (as Lee Anna Levin)
  • Steve Foster known as Steve
  • Vivian George known as Teresa (as Vivian Terresa George)
  • Kevin Cohen known as KK
  • Courtney Andre known as Courtney
  • Teri Hughes known as Detroit
  • Linda Harris known as Linda
  • Albert Olson known as Bam Bam
  • Melissa Black known as Melissa
  • Valarie Hudspeth known as Mama Grouch
  • Darryl Black Sr. known as Darryl
  • Kiana Parker known as Kiana
  • Hazard Banner known as Hazard
  • Russell Brown known as Russell
  • Kenneth Henry known as Simone
  • Jacqueline Sue West known as Jackie
  • Joyre Manuel known as Ashley
  • Lorinda Hawkins known as Singing Woman
  • Annette Valley known as Annette
  • Patrick Kelly known as Patrick
  • Quiana Farrow known as Quiana
  • Tony Genaro known as Globe Lobby Guard
  • Charlie Weirauch known as Atheist
  • Wayne Lopez known as Cop With Tents
  • Joe Hernandez-Kolski known as EMT #1
  • Noel Gugliemi known as Winston Street Cop (as Noel G.)
  • Paul Cruz known as EMT #2
  • Will Garret known as Homeless Man
  • Halbert Bernal known as EMT #3
  • Alejandro Patino known as Construction Worker
  • Karole Selmon known as Homeless Woman #1
  • Rob Nagle known as Neil
  • Patricia Place known as Cello Donor
  • Ralph Cole Jr. known as Enraged Homeless Man
  • Gladys Khan known as Reception Nurse (as Gladys Peters)
  • Palma Lawrence Reed known as ER Nurse
  • Isabel Hubmann known as Laid-Off Employee
  • Bonita Jefferson known as Homeless Woman #2
  • Eshana O'Neal known as Winston Street Prostitute
  • Myia Hubbard known as Young Jennifer Ayers
  • Iyanna Newborn known as Miss Little John
  • Bronwyn Hardy known as Beauty Shop Girl
  • Troy Blendell known as New Editor
  • Nick Nervies known as Jennifer's Son
  • Paul Norwood known as Editor
  • Tiffany Pulvino known as Juilliard Student
  • Don Abernathy known as Los Angeles Times Employee (uncredited)
  • Justin Aguila known as Homeless man (uncredited)
  • Rio Ahn known as Mayor Villaraigosa's Aide (uncredited)
  • Meggan Anderson known as Flutist (uncredited)
  • Laura Beckner known as Juilliard Student (uncredited)
  • Matt Besser known as Commuter #4 (uncredited)
  • Kimberly Bishop known as LA Times Staff (uncredited)
  • Jayce Bradley known as Brawling Frat Guy (uncredited)
  • Pete Brown known as Composer (uncredited)
  • Joshua Cabrera known as Teenage Musician (uncredited)
  • Gerry Carbajal known as Policeman (uncredited)
  • Elena Caruso known as Ballerina (uncredited)
  • Mike Cochrane known as Homeless Man (uncredited)
  • David Cohen known as Photographer (uncredited)
  • Ingrid Coree known as Nurse (uncredited)
  • Bridget Coulter known as Disney Hall Patron (uncredited)
  • Doby Daenger known as Mental Patient (uncredited)
  • Youlanda Davis known as Bag Lady (uncredited)
  • Aurelius DiBarsanti known as Paramedic (uncredited)
  • Johnny Drocco known as Hospital Orderly (uncredited)
  • Windy Duncan known as Radisson Guest (uncredited)
  • Paul Edney known as Driver (uncredited)
  • S. Zev Esquenazi known as Sgt. Hendrickson (uncredited)
  • Angela Featherstone known as Commuter #1 (uncredited)
  • Lauren E. Gates known as Ballerina (uncredited)
  • Marissa Ghavami known as Ballerina (uncredited)
  • Paul Grace known as E.M.T. in Hospital Emergency Room (uncredited)
  • Alan Gray known as Homeless Man (uncredited)
  • Paul Greenberg known as Commuter #2 (uncredited)
  • Nancy Guerriero known as Homeless Old Woman (uncredited)
  • Lejla Hadzimuratovic known as Disney Hall Patron (uncredited)
  • Justin Rodgers Hall known as Sgt. Harris (uncredited)
  • Richard Hansen known as Policeman (uncredited)
  • Terri Hughes known as Detroit (uncredited)
  • Pete Ilarius known as Disney Hall Patron (uncredited)
  • Paul Jeans known as ER Doctor (uncredited)
  • Christopher Karl Johnson known as Drunk Uncle at Christmas Party (uncredited)
  • Siso Kamburov known as Disney Hall Patron (uncredited)
  • Edward Kiniry-Ostro known as Craig (uncredited)
  • Adam Knapp known as Piano Student (uncredited)
  • Francesca Kortesmaki known as Twin Violinist (uncredited)
  • Therese Kortesmaki known as Twin Violinist (uncredited)
  • Kitty Kreidler known as Skid Row Homeless Woman (uncredited)
  • Heather La Bella known as ER Doctor (uncredited)
  • Hallie Lambert known as Ballerina (uncredited)
  • Kirsten Lea known as Awards Presenter (uncredited)
  • Wally Lozano known as Sign Spinner (uncredited)
  • Patrick MacKellan known as Banquet Guest (uncredited)
  • Michael Maddigan known as Brawling Frat Guy (uncredited)
  • Ricky Marciano known as Policeman (uncredited)
  • Lauren Suzanne Martin known as Juilliard Student (uncredited)
  • Jennifer McGraw known as Disney Hall Patron (uncredited)
  • George Meyers known as Policeman (uncredited)
  • Gabriel Morales known as Angry Hospital Patron (uncredited)
  • Samantha Nunley known as Perfect bride (uncredited)
  • Kai Nuuhiwa known as Brawling Frat Guy (uncredited)
  • Johanna Olson known as Juilliard Violinist (uncredited)
  • Michela Rietdijk known as Community Woman (uncredited)
  • Franklin Ruehl known as Homeless Man (uncredited)
  • Esa-Pekka Salonen known as Conductor (uncredited)
  • Jules Sanchez known as Skid Row Porta Potty Dweller (uncredited)
  • Sharon Savene known as LAPD Officer (uncredited)
  • Thierry Segall known as French Rock Star (uncredited)
  • Eric Shackelford known as Homeless Man (uncredited)
  • Holly Sherman known as Juilliard Student (uncredited)
  • Gary Sievers known as Homeless Street Preacher (uncredited)
  • Kortnee Simmons known as Extra (uncredited)
  • Robyn Jean Springer known as Disney Hall Patron (uncredited)
  • Arne Starr known as Concert Hall Guest (uncredited)
  • Janaya Sultze known as Ballerina (uncredited)
  • Jeff Sutherland known as Cowboy on Plane with Wife (uncredited)
  • Karmyn Tyler known as Juilliard Party Guest (uncredited)
  • Maggie Wagner known as Mrs. Villaraigosa (uncredited)
  • Troy Williams known as Policeman – Hospital Scene (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Vivian Baker known as additional makeup artist
  • Barbara Cantu known as assistant hair department head
  • Gloria Pasqua Casny known as hair department head
  • Iraina Crenshaw known as hair stylist
  • David DeLeon known as additional makeup artist (as Dave DeLeon)
  • Deidra Dixon known as hair stylist: Mr. Foxx
  • Kelcey Fry known as additional makeup artist
  • Scott Gamble known as makeup artist: Cleveland
  • Rick Glassman known as dental special effects: Mr. Foxx (as Dr. Rick Glassman)
  • Hitomi Golba known as additional hair stylist
  • Angela Gurule known as additional hair stylist
  • Joanne Harris known as additional hair stylist
  • Brigitte Hennech known as additional makeup artist
  • Laura Hill known as additional makeup artist
  • Miia Kovero known as additional hair stylist
  • Mark Landon known as additional makeup artist
  • Cammy R. Langer known as additional hair stylist (as Cammy Langer)
  • Deborah Lilly known as hair stylist: Cleveland (as Deborah Lily)
  • Deborah Lilly known as hair stylist: Cleveland
  • LaLette Littlejohn known as makeup artist: Mr. Foxx
  • Kathy Madison known as makeup artist: Cleveland
  • Robert Maverick known as additional makeup artist
  • Myke Michaels known as additional makeup artist
  • Ve Neill known as makeup department head
  • Ve Neill known as makeup designer
  • Kim Novack known as hair stylist: : Cleveland
  • Alexei O'Brien known as makeup artist
  • Brian Penikas known as makeup supervisor
  • Sabine Roller known as makeup supervisor (as Sabine Roller-Taylor)
  • Lisa Marie Rosenberg known as hair stylist (as Lis Marie Rosenberg Alpert)
  • Susan Schuler-Page known as additional hair stylist (as Susan Schuler)
  • Brad Scott known as additional hair stylist
  • Peggy Semtob known as additional hair stylist
  • Nikoletta Skarlatos known as assistant makeup department head
  • Cyndi Reece Thorne known as additional makeup artist
  • Victoria Wood known as wig maker: Mr. Foxx
  • Debbie Zoller known as additional makeup artist
  • Martha Callender known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Jed Dornoff known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Joel Harlow known as prosthetic sculptor (uncredited)
  • Connie Kallos known as hair stylist (uncredited)
  • Corinna Liebel known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Veronica Lorenz known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Michael Mosher known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Bill Myer known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Jessica Nelson known as contact lens technician (uncredited)
  • Loretta Nero known as hair stylist (uncredited)
  • Cristina Patterson Ceret known as contact lens coordinator/painter (uncredited)
  • Heather Plott known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Richard Redlefsen known as makeup artist (uncredited)
  • Yoichi Art Sakamoto known as special effects prosthetics (uncredited)
  • Tina Sims known as hair stylist (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • Tom Altobello known as assistant property master
  • Brook Bacon known as set dresser
  • Andrew Birdzell known as set designer
  • Max Bozeman known as set dresser (as Max K. Bozeman)
  • Sue Brook known as set dresser
  • Joanna Bush known as illustrator
  • Jim Butler known as set dresser: Cleveland
  • Geovani Campos known as toolperson: Cleveland
  • Clete Cetrone known as mill foreperson
  • Digby Cottrell known as set dresser
  • Richard Crain known as gang boss
  • Sean Daly known as artist: hand of Nathaniel Ayers
  • Fred Deyoe known as propmaker foreperson (as Fred Dyoe)
  • Lou Economides known as labor supervisor
  • Todd Ellis known as property master
  • Michael P. Finnegan known as tool technician (as Michael Patrick Finnegan)
  • Neil Garland known as propmaker gangboss
  • Allison Gross known as property person
  • John Guliano known as propmaker foreperson (as John J. Guilliano)
  • Willie Haspel known as labor foreperson (as William Haspel)
  • Chris Herrington known as painter
  • Jay M. Hirsch known as welding foreperson
  • John Hoskins known as construction coordinator
  • Stuart John known as construction coordinator: Cleveland
  • Tommy John known as set painter
  • Kent Jones known as paint foreperson
  • Cynthia La Jeunesse known as buyer
  • Robert Lambert known as construction foreperson
  • Scott W. Leslie known as set dresser
  • Eric Luling known as on-set dresser (as Eric J. Luling)
  • Roger Lundeen known as set designer
  • Ron Mason known as assistant art director
  • Howard Payne Miller known as set dresser
  • Terry Myers known as construction foreperson: Cleveland (as Terri Myers)
  • Brett Phillips known as model maker
  • Craig Pittman known as set dresser
  • Hugh Pritchard known as set dresser
  • Shari Ratliff known as art department coordinator
  • Brent Rice known as lead person
  • Katie Spencer known as key set decorator (as Kate Spencer)
  • Christopher Taylor known as set dresser
  • Karen Teneyck known as graphic designer
  • Jim Wallis known as set designer
  • William Wheaton known as labor foreperson (as William R. Eheaton)
  • Robert Wilbanks known as supervising plaster foreperson
  • Clyde Zimmerman known as paint supervisor
  • David Agajanian known as set dressing gangboss (uncredited)
  • Susan Chooljian known as buyer (uncredited)
  • Erin Fite known as buyer (uncredited)
  • Travis Huffman known as propmaker (uncredited)
  • Robert Misetich known as set paint foreman (uncredited)
  • Bruce Richter known as carpenter (uncredited)
  • Jessica Samuelson known as props (uncredited)
  • Andy Schofield known as swing gang (uncredited)
  • Erik Soderstrom known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Michael Timman known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Jack White known as food stylist (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • DreamWorks SKG (as DreamWorks Pictures) (presents)
  • Universal Pictures (presents)
  • Studio Canal (as StudioCanal) (in association with)
  • Participant Media (in association with)
  • Krasnoff Foster Productions (as Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment)
  • Working Title Films (in association with)

Other Companies:

  • Deluxe Catering  catering
  • Videocam  video projection
  • SISS Ltd.  security: for Mr. Foxx
  • Skywalker Sound  sound post-production (as Skywalker Sound a Lucasfilm Ltd. Company Main County, California)
  • Sony Pictures Studios Scoring Stage  score recording and mixing facility (as Sony Pictures Scoring Stage)
  • EFilm  digital intermediate
  • yU+Co.  main titles
  • Pacific Title  end titles
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera cranes & dollies
  • American Roadshow Motion Picture And Television Catering  catering: Cleveland Unit (as American Roadshow)
  • The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra  the producers wish to thank
  • Lamp Community  the producers wish to thank
  • Midnight Mission, The  the producers wish to thank
  • Volunteers of America  the producers wish to thank
  • Downtown Women's Center  the producers wish to thank
  • Skid Row Housing Trust  the producers wish to thank
  • SRO Housing Group  the producers wish to thank
  • Union Rescue Mission  the producers wish to thank
  • Weingart Center  the producers wish to thank
  • Los Angeles Mission  the producers wish to thank
  • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority  the producers wish to thank
  • Los Angeles Times  special thanks
  • Allan Padelford Camera Cars  camera equipment provided by (remote drive system)
  • Behind the Scenes Freight  shipping by
  • Bender ET  GFCI shock protection provided by
  • Central Casting  background casting
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  camera dollies
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  stabilized remote camera systems
  • David Haddad  transportation equipment
  • Deutsche Grammophon  soundtrack
  • Direct Tools & Fasteners  expendables
  • Film Art  artwork
  • Haddad's  transportation equipment
  • Intelligent Media  international monitoring agency
  • Jo Anne Kane Music Services  music preparation (as Joann Kane Music Service)
  • Klass Security and Investigations  anti-piracy film security (uncredited)
  • LCW Props  set equipment
  • Lightworks  edited on
  • Los Angeles Center Studios  sound stages
  • Los Angeles Rag House  grip and lighting equipment
  • Rockbottom Rentals  Nextel cell phone rentals
  • Runway  post-production services
  • Spacecam Systems  aerial cameras provided by
  • Star Waggons  cast trailers
  • Star Waggons  hair and make-up
  • Star Waggons  star trailers
  • Tai Audio  walkies provided by
  • Technicolor  release printing
  • Wildfire Studios  adr recording facility


  • Paramount Pictures (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Paramount Pictures Entertainment (2009) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Studio Canal (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • Toho-Towa (2009) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • United International Pictures (UIP) (2009) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • United International Pictures (UIP) (2009) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • United International Pictures (UIP) (2009) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Universal Pictures International (UPI) (2010) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • Zon Lusomundo Audiovisuais (2009) (Portugal) (theatrical)
  • DreamWorks Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
  • Film1 (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • Finnkino (2009) (Finland) (all media)
  • Home Box Office (HBO) (2010) (USA) (TV)
  • Universal Pictures Benelux (2010) (Belgium) (DVD)
  • Universal Pictures Benelux (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Double Negative

Visual Effects by:

  • Simon Allmark known as head of editorial: Double Negative (as Simon Almark)
  • Adrian Banton known as compositor: Double Negative
  • Frank Berbert known as compositor: Double Negative
  • Max Decroix known as technical director: Double Negative
  • Andy Hague known as visual effects editor: synthesia sequence, Double Negative
  • Robert Hemmings known as visual effects animator: Dpuble Negative (as Rob Hemmings)
  • Claus Kogsbøll known as animator
  • Emma Larsson known as visual effects producer: Double Negative
  • Gurel Mehmet known as concept artist: Double Negative
  • Andre Metello known as character technical director: double negative
  • John Moffatt known as visual effects producer
  • John Moffatt known as visual effects supervisor
  • Stuart Nelhams known as visual effects editor: Double Negative
  • Laurent-Paul Robert known as technical director: Double Negative (as Laurent Robert)
  • Melissa Taylor known as visual effects executive producer: Double Negative
  • Helen Wood known as compositor: Double Negative
  • Leanne Young known as visual effects editor: Double Negative
  • George Zwier known as compositor: Double Negative
  • Patrick Clancey known as digital opticals (uncredited)
  • Pete Hanson known as studio manager: Double Negative (uncredited)
  • Jan Hyldebrandt-Larsen known as visual effects producer (uncredited)
  • Martin Kupski known as matte painter (uncredited)
  • Taz Lodder known as technical support: Double Negative (uncredited)
  • Thomas Mathai known as data manager (uncredited)
  • Julia Reinhard known as digital compositor: Double Negative (uncredited)
  • Tom Westermann known as digital artist (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • Canada 24 April 2009
  • USA 24 April 2009
  • Japan 30 May 2009
  • Australia 3 September 2009
  • Greece 3 September 2009
  • New Zealand 3 September 2009
  • Israel 10 September 2009
  • Ireland 25 September 2009
  • Mexico 25 September 2009
  • UK 25 September 2009
  • Portugal 15 October 2009
  • Denmark 16 October 2009
  • Norway 16 October 2009
  • Romania 16 October 2009
  • Czech Republic 22 October 2009
  • Poland 23 October 2009
  • Argentina 29 October 2009
  • Brazil 6 November 2009
  • South Korea 19 November 2009
  • Germany 10 December 2009
  • Sweden 11 December 2009
  • Kuwait 17 December 2009
  • France 23 December 2009
  • Peru 7 January 2010
  • Venezuela 8 January 2010
  • Russia 12 January 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Hungary 26 January 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Spain 19 February 2010
  • Panama 2 April 2010
  • Netherlands 13 April 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Italy 23 July 2010

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug use and language



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .


  1. LAKERS34 from Los Angeles
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    First off, I should say that I am personally familiar with this story,having worked in downtown L.A. for the last 19 years and seeing MrAyers and his cello many a time around 3rd and Hill Sts. I've also readLopez's columns in the Times for years and followed this one withinterest and satisfaction. Making a film about a tale like thisrestores my belief in Hollywood beyond the mindless bunk it churns outyear after year.

    Downey Jr and Foxx play a newspaper columnist and homeless man who cometogether in a most unusual way. Downey is a newspaper columnist lookingfor something original and interesting to write about. He finds it whenhe sees Foxx beautifully playing battered stringed instruments along3rd street in downtown L.A. Foxx has been there for years but on thisday grabs the eye of the columnist because the columnist himself isexperiencing hardship and doubt related to his own position. He beginsto write about this talented but troubled man who fills the stinky airaround him with harmony. They become friends but keep in mind this isnot fiction. The friendship hits many bumps that continue to this day.Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx's character) may be a brilliant, educatedmusician, but he suffers from bouts of schizophrenia that manifest atany time. Downey's character accepts this as it adds more intrigue tohis columns. Then he accepts it on a personal level. Their friendshipultimately becomes real and meaningful. You sense that Downey'scharacter needs the friendship even more than Foxx's homeless man does.In the end, Downey's Lopez can see the positive effect his work hasbrought to the plight of the homeless, yet he wonders personally howmuch better he has made Nathaniel…? His reflections make us thinkalso.

    Downey Jr and Foxx play their characters to near perfection and thefilm masterfully takes its time in developing the relationship betweenthe two. Great to see director Joe Wright telling a contemporary talejust as effectively as he has in previous works. The film makes uswonder how many other Nathaniel Ayers are lurking out there on thestreets? Life being what it is, of course we will never know. Thebeauty of the film is that is shows what can happen when just oneNathaniel Ayers is found after being lost for so many years. There's nosugarcoating; Ayers doesn't magically get better and rejoin mainstreamsociety. Instead, the mainstream accepts him for what he is and what heoffers and begins integrating him as best it can. This film willcertainly pop up at award time next year.

  2. Tom Murray ( from Belleville, Ontario, Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    Since Ingmar Bergman's 1962 film, "Through a Glass, Darkly", the 2009film "The Soloist" is one of the two most accurate portrayals ofschizophrenia, from the point of view of the mentally ill person and ofpeople who want to interact with the ill person. I speak fromexperience. David Cronenberg's film, "Spider", is the other.

    I was disappointed in my two favourite critics, James Berardinelli andRoger Ebert, each of who gave "The Soloist" only 62½%.

    Berardinelli says, "The Soloist is afflicted with a lack of passion.The story lacks a strong trajectory; it meanders, seemingly unsure ofprecisely what it wants to do and say and where it wants to go."Actually, that is the reality of schizophrenia. One never knows what isgoing to happen next. There are many setbacks. He also says, "Thesoundtrack supplies multiple, overlapping voices. The objective is toinvite the viewer to participate in the unhinging of Nathaniel's mind,a first-person perspective of schizophrenia. Unfortunately, it feelsartificial and contrived." I have taught seven NAMI* courses on mentalillness. One episode in one of the classes involves requiring classmembers to perform certain simple tasks while being bombarded by randomvoices from behind. Many class members find that to be the mostunnerving, and illuminating, of all the activities in the course.

    Ebert misses the point when he says, "Yes, mental illness can be likethat, but can successful drama? There comes a point when Lopez has hadenough, and so, in sympathy, have we." Dealing with a mentally illperson can be devastatingly frustrating. Must we always be entertained?There is a place for grim reality in drama. Otherwise, how can welearn?

    "The Soloist" is as accurate a representation of schizophrenia as youcould experience without becoming mentally ill yourself. If you keepthat in mind then the film will be rewarding; if, however, you arelooking for a film that makes sense easily and progresses from point topoint in a logical manner, then look for a different film.

    If you choose to watch the film and absorb the reality of mentalillness, then you will learn much. You never know when that knowledgewill be of great value to you. Then again, you may be spared, and neverneed it.

    The film introduces a very important idea: mentally ill people dobetter if there is someone, whom they trust, who takes an abidinginterest in them.

    It also poses one very important question: should mentally ill personsbe forced to take medication to stabilize themselves? Different states,provinces and countries have different laws concerning this. Some feelthat mentally ill persons should be forced to take medication if andonly if they are likely to harm themselves or others. Mentally illpersons are often unaware that they are mentally ill, and cannot beconvinced otherwise. Would they have more freedom to decide correctlyfor themselves if they were first medicated until they become sane? Thefilm addresses this question but does not attempt to give a definitiveanswer. You will have to think out that question yourself, keeping inmind that different people have different reactions to the samemedication. There is no universal answer, but for each individual,there is probably a best answer but not necessarily a good one.

    The film captivated me from the beginning to the end. I did not missthe common devices that some movies use to make them exciting. Therewas excitement enough for me in the growth of the principal charactersand in the learning that I did, and in the thinking that I was forcedto do.

    *NAMI is The National Alliance on Mental Illness.

    P.S. Schizophrenia has absolutely nothing to do with having multiplepersonalities, or of dichotomies (apparent contradictions). The splitin the expression "split personality" is the split between thepersonality and reality. Unfortunately, the word is misused far moreoften that it is used correctly.

  3. Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    What makes this film watchable is that it is based on a true story. Acaring Los Angeles reporter named Steve Lopez (Robert Downey, Jr.)tries to help a homeless man named Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (JamieFoxx).

    Ayers suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. But he once attendedJulliard, and he still lives and breathes the music of Beethoven.Ayers, with his shopping cart of possessions, walks the streets,playing his violin amid the noise of the freeway. He's content, in hisown world.

    That unusual behavior grabs the attention of Lopez, no doubt as a humaninterest story for his own column. But as Lopez gradually becomes moregenuinely concerned about Ayers, their relationship encountersfrustration, anger, and emotional pain.

    It's a poignant, gritty story, full of realism. The film manages to becompassionate without being patronizing. The film does a terrific jobin portraying the harsh, depressing reality of the boarders who live ata large shelter where Ayers goes, at the insistence of Lopez.

    Technical elements of the film are good. The visuals are thematicallyimpressive. Production design and costumes are detailed and realistic.Acting is credible. Robert Downey, Jr. gives a fine performance.

    The main problem is the plot. Too much time is spent on Lopez and histrivialities. Somehow, the compelling Ayers story morphs into a weightyexamination of Lopez and his distress in dealing with Ayers. The scriptis to blame here. I think if the main character had been Ayers, insteadof Lopez, the film could have been quite inspiring.

    Even so, the film clearly calls attention to the plight of the urbanhomeless. As such, the film deserves viewer support.

  4. Malcolm Taylor from Toronto, Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    After catching snippets of the lackluster reviews (two-stars in theGlobe and Mail) I was dis-heartened. It's been a few months since I'dbeen moved by the trailer. However, the film never came out. I thoughtit might have been shelved.

    I was glad to see it was indeed playing. In spite of the reviews, Ipersevered on the strength of the trailer. It seemed to me there wastoo much talent and pedigree involved for it to actually suck. And youknow what? it's a terrific film with a poignant story. Perhaps lowerexpectations propped up my perceptions of it, however, it still standsas time well spent.

    The film is based on a true story involving a top columnist at the LATimes, Steve Lopez, played with grace by Robert Downey Jr., who becomesinvested in one of his more colourful subjects, Nathaniel Ayers, anaccomplished musician overcome by mental illness, now living on thestreets of LA portrayed by Jamie Foxx, who rambles his way to aconvincing performance.

    The film is a satisfying adult drama that doesn't lose it's direction.It doesn't pander to it's audience. There is no random violence, noguns, but indeed simply good story telling with greatcharacterizations. It's a decent film that deserves better treatment inthe press. It has a noble heart that succeeds in telling a great humanstory.

    It resonates and strikes a chord.

  5. claygoul-1 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    Within a one-week period, I saw my second screening of this powerfulmovie today. I am mystified by some of the "bilious-type" reviews foundhere, seemingly driven by an anti-Joe Wright campaign. I found no cheapsentiments in the story line and I was awed by the high-octaneperformances of Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. Nothing being perfectin an imperfect world, as "adult" entertainment, "The Soloist" did notonce insult my intelligence. I marveled at the complexity of thescreenplay and the realization of it by its gifted director and thecamera-work of Seamus McGarvey. The gifted Dario Marianelli is creditedas the film's composer, anecdotally, in the gigantic shadow of Ludwigvan Beethoven. Mental illness, genius, homelessness, journalism andmusic has rarely been so well presented as an "entertainment." Yes, Mr.Ayers is depicted as experiencing a "light show" when attending arehearsal of the L. A. Philharmonic. At least we didn't see pinkhippopotamus in tutus or dinosaurs on a rampage in a prehistoricsetting. Being so accustomed to televised concerts, I expected thecamera to focus on the instruments themselves in this sequence. And,"clapping pigeons." Great idea that works. A brave film directed at a"non-art house" audience. I also want to cite the wonderful work ofNelsan Ellis who plays David at LAMP. So much compassion comes off thescreen with his presence. There is no way we can make "light" of thetragedy of the homeless, so many with mental illness. Thank you Mr.Steve Lopez for introducing me to Mr. Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. My lifeis richer for the experience. LisaGay Hamilton, as Jennifer Ayers,Nathaniel's sister, deserves recognition in a small, but pivotal rolethat brings dignity and catharsis to a heart-wrenching experience.

  6. zetes from Saint Paul, MN
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    This film was supposed to be a major competitor for the Oscars lastyear, but Paramount bumped it to a few months later. Despite the mixedreviews the film has received, I believe it would have been a majorcontender. I honestly think Paramount's decision not only ruined itschances for Oscars, it gave the impression that there was somethingwrong with the picture. There isn't, really. The subject matter doesscream "Oscar Bait", with Robert Downey Jr. playing a newspapercolumnist who writes about a schizophrenic genius musician (Jamie Foxx)who is homeless on the streets of L.A. We all remember Shine. Shine waspretty good (if entirely made up, as we later discovered). The Soloistis probably a little better. I think it's stronger because of itsexploration of the relationship between the two central characters.Both Downey and Foxx are extremely good; both are award-worthy. Thismaterial could easily have been cheesy Oscar bait, but director JoeWright (Pride and Prejudice and Atonement) is a virtuoso himself. Theway he uses image and sound move the story along beautifully, notallowing the clichés to clog up the film.

  7. bw11 from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    I sometimes work clinically with schizophrenics. This film shows us thetruth about working with severely mentally ill people. David, the manwho runs the shelter for the homeless honestly spoke the truth with hisstance that is opposite of what the Pharmaceutical Industry, most ofpsychiatry and the legal system try to make us believe. David was myhero in this movie.

    All though the movie goes quickly over Jamie Fox's childhood trauma andlosses — it's still there, i.e. no father and the truck on firerepresent some of the traumas that created his illness. Homeless peoplewith mental illness did not come from healthy childhoods. Almost allcame from repeated childhood trauma.(see New Zealand Psychologist JohnRead PhD and colleagues, the ACE Study from the CDC, and CharlesWhitfield's book The Truth about Mental Illness, 2004).

    Hollywood did not cover over the painful truths in this story. JamieFox's character's mother and his sister were good people and that comesthrough but they couldn't prevent his wounding. At the end of the film,we are told "90,000 Homeless people in Los Angeles." We walked out ofthe theater overwhelmed with that figure and uplifted by this truestory.

    If you're really interested in the truth about schizophrenia there isan excellent DVD documentary called Take These Broken Wings: Recoverfrom Schizophrenia without Medication by Daniel Mackler

  8. from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    THE SOLOIST is a powerful, heartfelt, emotionally moving, human dramawith two incredibly talented actors who give their all. It is every bitas wonderful as what it promises. Definitely one of the best films ofthe year. If you're looking for… an inspiring story, well then lookno further. This is another accomplishment by Director Joe Wright(Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) I've always known Jamie Foxx and RobertDowney Jr. are two great actors respectively but the mix of two is likecombining two different formulas that compliment each other and createan atomic chemistry only described as something that no one else willever manage to replicate. They can try but won't come out as good asthese two.

    This is Jamie Foxx's best performance since Ray, and I'd vouch for asecond nomination on the horizon. Robert Downey Jr. proves that he'sversatile, that he's more than just Tony Stark and he still got piecesof greatness from when he played Chaplin years ago.

    We can't really compare the two characters with Tom Cruise and DustinHoffman in Rain Man because unlike that movie, in this one, Downey'scharacter, Lopez, doesn't try to take advantage of Jamie's character's,Nathaniel's musical talent. In fact, Lopez thinks that by fixingNathaniel then maybe he could fix his broken marriage, he thinks thatby fixing Nathaniel, he could fix L.A., he thinks that by fixingNathaniel, all his writing and columns and accomplishment could meansomething. But the problem is Nathaniel doesn't want to be fixed.

    Sometimes, the only way to heal somebody is just be a good friend inneed. Sometimes we gotta accept the fact that some things can't befixed and that being there for someone speaks louder than our aimlesseffort to turn them into something they're not.

    Nathaniel's love of music is his only connection to what's left that'sgood in his life, in the midst of chaos and confusion. A friend makesthat connection even stronger.

    That's what I love about this movie, the story.

    Joe Wright's directing is superb, he understands the plot and how theactors should respond to whatever conflict that may surface. Thelocations chosen or how a scene would play out, his vision of it all isborderline perfect. The portrayal of the skid row and how the cameramoves from one homeless guy to another and take us on this view of theforgotten little kingdom is quite humbling. Those of us who've seen thereal LA would not find this to be an exaggeration. Director ofPhotography Seamus McGarvey should definitely be nominated again forthe Cinematography, which is absolutely brilliant –Rama's SCREEN–

  9. MovieCriticMarvelfan from california
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    Saw this movie at a screening last year, yet this movie stuck with meback then as it still does now (Many spoilers follow below):

    Based on a true story and a book The Soloist is a special movie thatmight end up getting serious Academy Award attention (don't know why itgot delayed last year when it easily could have been nominated for BestPicture, Best Actor and Best Supporting actor at this year's Oscars).This story takes place in Los Angeles and has a lot to say about LA(Namely dirty politics, the homeless problem specifically in Skid Rowbut can be attributed to the whole state, and mental illness) it was amust see. The fact that there were two great actors in the lead JamieFoxx (Ray)and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) was enough for me to see it.The movie is about a homeless musician with schizophrenia. At leastthat's part of the story, this a movie that has a story within a story.We learn about the brilliance of Nathaniel Ayers Jr. played withstunning excellence by Foxx.

    Ayers for whatever reason developed schizophrenia but was a brilliantcello and violin player with a love for Beethoven. LA Times journalist,Steve Lopez (Downey) does something that not many journalists do whenhe reaches to Ayers for help seeing his brilliant playing (not toomention the circumstances which he lives in which are to say the leastinhumane but no one gives a damn about except the homeless shelterAyers visits.) and hoping that he can fulfill his dreams of sharing hisbrilliant gift of playing music.

    Lopez really doesn't know what he is getting himself into as Ayersschizophrenia often poses numerous problems not just for Ayers healthbut any potential rewarding job opportunities. Both Foxx and Downeyplay these parts great. They really are some of the best actors in thebusiness today. Like I said a story within a story, we see the homelessproblem in Skid Row (although really all of California like otherstates has a big homeless problem). We see REALLY NO ASSISTANCE for thehomeless. Then the Mayor makes some speech promising to help thehomeless but as with most politicians most of their promises are crapas we see a sweep (really a beat down of the homeless by the pigs, Imean cops of LA). This is something that is done in other cities forwhatever reason (I guess maybe the mentality is if they get rid of thehomeless and move them out of the area no one will realize there is aproblem).

    Anyhow, I really liked the director's guts (Joe Wright) to show notjust Nathaniel's story but the story of other homeless people and poorpeople of the area. This could have been one of those garbage"Hollywood ending" movies where everybody gets saved but Joe Wrightpresents the real consequences and results of situations. Anyways, thisis a great, great movie that is not to be missed. It's not a Shineripoff!!! You know they throw around a lot of exaggerated phrases like"this is the Best movie I've seen in years", "This movie ismesmerizing",. " It will tug away at your heart", but really this is amovie that lives up to all that and more.

    I've also started reading the real book "The Soloist" by Steve Lopez. Iwould also highly recommend reading the book as it will give your moredetails about Ayers and more insight from Lopez himself in learningabout his new friend and what others with schizophrenia go through.It's a great book. This movie really is one of the best movies I'veseen in a while by two great actors.

  10. benjybass from France
    30 Mar 2012, 4:05 am

    I am a musician and live in France, where the release date of thismovie is scheduled for Sept. 2 2009. I obviously cannot write a reviewat the present time but have nevertheless read the book.

    What no one mentions in all of the above comments is that NathanielAyers was originally a Double Bass student at Julliard and NOT acellist. That instrument– along with the violin, trumpet, and piano,all came about later on. Put any instrument into his hands and he'll dohis best to master it.

    Having attended Yale university, I did not know him personally, eventhough we studied with one of the greatest bass teachers in the NewYork area at that time: Homer Mensch. Recently our paths did finallycross thanks to one of our mutual acquaintances, bassist and composerJoe Russo. Nathan likes to write down the names of his long lost goodfriends on walls, or any writing surface, and Joe's name is alwaysthere, scribbled amongst his favorites. This was where Steve noticedJoe's name and Googled him to look up his website. A new and closefriendship resulted between them, and the many anecdotes that Joepulled out of Nathan's past were worth their weight in gold to Steve,enough to devote the entire chapter 8 of the book to Joe!

    To me, reading this book made me come to the conclusion that every manhas his hour in life, and Nathan's time had come now. The chances of 2men, one homeless and one not, being pulled together through the soundof a violin in a rush hour tunnel, were undoubtedly written in thestars. Through articles, a book and now a film on Nathan, Steve helpeduplift a poor and abandoned part of society to a rank that it neverimagined nor asked for, but morally deserved. We all know that theInternet is indeed capable of connecting and reconnecting people in thepresent, but only music can magically, throughout time, open the doorsthat connect all of us to one another.

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