The Soloist (2009)
Critic Consensus: Though it features strong performances by its lead players, a lack of narrative focus prevents The Soloist from hitting its mark.
Columnist Steve Lopez is at a dead end. The newspaper business is in an uproar, his marriage to a fellow journalist has fallen apart and he can't entirely remember what he loved about his job in the first place. Then, one day, while walking through Los Angeles' Skid Row, he sees the mysterious bedraggled figure Nathaniel Ayers, pouring his soul into a two-stringed violin. At first, Lopez approaches Ayers as just another story idea in a city of millions. But as he begins to unearth the mystery of how this alternately brilliant and distracted street musician, once a dynamic prodigy headed for fame, wound up living in tunnels and doorways, it sparks an unexpected quest. Imagining he can change Ayers' life, Lopez embarks on a quixotic mission to get him off the streets and back to the world of music. But even as he fights to save Ayers' life, he begins to see that it is Ayers--with his unsinkable passion, his freedom-loving obstinacy and his valiant attempts at connection and love--who is profoundly changing Lopez. … More
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as Nathaniel Anthony Ay...
as Steve Lopez
as Graham Claydon
as Mary Weston
as Jennifer Ayers-Moore
as Curt Reynolds
as David Carter
as Lab Technician
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Critic Reviews for The Soloist
The subject matter is a little too easy to overdo for that, but it is pretty good, thanks to a pair of fine performances from its leads and a director who understands understatement. And sometimes those can be as rare to find as a genuine musical prodigy.
The Soloist never completely transcends that Hollywood formula feel, but it has enough transcendent moments to make it worth recommending.
Develops the feel-good plot in true newspaper style: a few heart tugs followed by a punch in the face.
Audience Reviews for The Soloist
Carried by two outstanding leading men (Downey Jr. and Foxx) this film celebrates the power of friendship without ever getting too sappy or unrealistic in its outlook on curing or dealing with mental illnesses. Next to the great performances, the fine camera work and direction make this an underrated drama with lots of memorable scenes. A little shocked not more people reacted positively to it.
I had low expectations for this movie, based on bad reviews, but in all, it wasn't that bad. The acting was solid - Robert Downey Jr. really is a talent, and Jamie Foxx embraced a challenging role - and the visual treatment was interesting, wandering away from the narrative in places just to throw in odd moments of beauty. The story is one you've heard a hundred times, but for a one-time watch, there's no reason this forgettable movie's any worse than the many like it that have come before. Nothing really original, but not a failure, either. I give it one big "Mmmmeh."
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