Release year: 2009
Director: Joe Wright
Screenwriter: Susannah Grant, Steve Lopez (based on the book by)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jamie Foxx, Catherine Keener, Nelsan Ellis, Tom Hollander, LisaGay Hamilton, Rachael Harris, Justin Martin
Los Angeles journalist Steve Lopez (Downey Jr.) is looking for the next story for his column, when he meets the homeless musician Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx). The story becomes more and touches both the readers as well as Lopez, who develops a friendship with the mentally ill man.
Based on a real life story, The Soloist is a touching story about the devastation of mental illness and how many of the many homeless people in L.A., who are where they are because of it. The movie cleverly stays out of too much sugary sweetness, mainly due to strong performances from both Downey Jr. (Iron Man, 2008) and Foxx (Django Unchained, 2012), with the latter convincing as mentally ill with subtlety. Keener (The 40 Year-Old Virgin, 2005) is good as Lopez’s ex-wife, making you wish she had had a bigger part and the far too underused Ellis (The Help, 2011) bring a calm strength to his role as a doctor working with the homeless. The movie could have been great, but unfortunately it seems to lack narrative focus and stumbles from scene to scene without really managing to engage you. Surprisingly considering how successful Wright was with just that with his two previous movies (Pride and Prejudice, 2005 and Atonement, 2007). But the performances are excellent and the story is sweet, making this worth your while.
Most of the homeless people shown in the film, are actually homeless.
Picture copyrights: UIP