What may end up as a forgotten movie come Oscar time next year, “The Soloist” delivered award-winning performances by Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.
What may end up as a forgotten movie come Oscar time next year, “The Soloist” delivered award-winning performances by Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. The film is based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers (played by Jamie Foxx), a homeless music genius with undiagnosed schizophrenia and his relationship with a journalist, Steve Lopez, (played by Robert Downey Jr.). While playing Beethoven on a two-string violin on the streets of Los Angeles, L.A. Times columnists Lopez hears the sounds of the orchestra while on a break from the newsroom and takes interest in Ayers. As a result a series of columns were born about the classical music prodigy. “The Soloist” takes you through the evolving friendship between Ayers and Lopez as the columnist tries to understand how Ayers, once a cello student at the Julliard School, ended up on skid row but still maintained his passion for Beethoven. Throughout the movie, one of Lopez’s readers donated a cello to Ayers, and Lopez arranged for the musician to have his own apartment and get music lessons from the L.A. Philharmonic. As you watch the movie, you can feel the love Ayers has for classical music and how it provides therapy for his illness. The music drowns out the voices and he’s at peace. You get wrought with emotion, as did Lopez’s readers about Ayers’ story, but the movie concentrated a little more than it should on Lopez’s life. Moviegoers were left yearning for more about Ayers. While bits and pieces of his childhood and Julliard days were shared by Ayers and his sister, there was no indication about whether he sought medical treatment, if he was able to move into a better apartment or if he continued with his music lessons. You do, however, walk away knowing that Ayers still continues his relationship with Lopez and attends the orchestra. The performances were great, but the movie was incomplete. I give it 2.5 out of five stars. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.