The Soloist is a true story about a reporter, Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) who comes across a homeless man, Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx). The interesting twist is that Ayers was a cello student at Julliard at one point in his life. For those of you not familiar with Julliard, it is the Harvard of music schools. Downey is intrigued to find out how a talented person with that kind of back ground ended up living on the streets. The movie tells the story of Ayers and how he ended up homeless.
This was a good movie. It wasn't particularly enjoyable to watch. Some scenes were actually frustrating and even painful to watch. It kind of felt like doing community service. The message I came away with was more than a particular story. This film created a greater awareness for the issues of mental illness and homelessness.
The performances were good and I was relieved to see Jamie Foxx had his normal hair back while watching the special features afterwards. By the way, how has Downey transformed from a young punk with substance abuse problems who was always in trouble with the law, to a can't miss movie star? Talk about resurrecting your career. I really like him. I also liked the psychedelic Fantasia tribute during one of the concerts and can't believe it went on as long as it did.
If you are looking for a pick me up movie, this is not it, but it is a good movie with an informative message and the makers were successful in creating greater awareness for the plight of the mentally ill and homeless in America. I give it 7.1 stars.