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The Soloist (2009)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 April 2009 (USA)
0:59 | Clip

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



(screenplay), (book)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Graham Claydon
Jennifer Ayers (as Lisagay Hamilton)
David Carter
Leslie Bloom
Curt Reynolds
Flo Ayers
Young Nathaniel
Kokayi Ampah ...
Bernie Carpenter
Paul Jr.
Marisa (as Susane E. Lee)
Mayor Villaraigosa
Harry Barnoff


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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Life has a mind of its own See more »


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug use and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

24 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Imagining Beethoven  »

Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,716,458 (USA) (24 April 2009)


$31,670,931 (USA) (3 July 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In real life, Ayres had little resistance to the cello teacher and has remained close friends and protégé of LA Philharmonic cellists Peter Snyder (the teacher played by Tom Hollander) and Ben Hong. In real life, Ayres had a lot of resistance to attending the first concert at Disney concert hall. See more »


Juilliard is spelled incorrectly as Julliard on his cello case. See more »


[first lines]
Construction Worker: [greeting his co-workers] Buen dia, muchachos.
Steve Lopez: [narrating] "Points West" by Steve Lopez. A construction worker in Griffith Park heard the
Steve Lopez: [swerving his bicycle to avoid a raccoon] Hey!
Steve Lopez: [continuing narration] He saw a cyclist cartwheel off his bike and slam face-first into the unforgiving asphalt of Riverside Drive.
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Crazy Credits

At the end of the credits, the music concludes with the sound of a cassette tape grinding to a stop, referencing Lopez's omnipresent recorder. See more »


References Hawaii Five-O (1968) See more »


String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131, Mvmt. I
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Adapted by Dario Marianelli
Performed by The Los Angeles Philharmonic
Conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Lacked development....
9 September 2009 | by (Portugal) – See all my reviews

Steve Lopez is a Los Angeles Times columnist in need of a decent story.One day he encounters,by chance, Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless schizophrenic street musician with an abundance of talent.Lopez writes a series of articles about Nathaniel and tries to help him, to improve his conditions of living and gives him a chance to showcase his talent however Nathaniel's disease has created demons that he can't ignore and Lopez sees most of his efforts frustrated...To be honest I was expecting a way better movie, I saw the trailer months ago and it got me excited, the movie seemed to have all the ingredients to be a success,plus two amazing actors, Robert Downey Jr as Lopez and Jammie Foxx as Nathaniel.However, I felt disappointed.Lopez struggle to reach to Nathaniel and his constant efforts to help him were interesting to watch but that is pretty much everything that happens in the movie.In the end almost everything looks the same as in the beginning and not much has happened.Sure, Lopez had a small yet positive impact on Nathaniel's life and he,himself, might have gained a little something from that relationship too but I was expecting a wider range of events so to speak...I'm not saying that he should have been cured by the end of the film, as much as Hollywood loves happy endings that would be unrealistic but I did expect something to happen...some kind of development that would make this story worth telling.It never came. Maybe this story(based on real events) just doesn't translate very well to the big screen.I think the film aspired to be great but felt short.On a more positive note, Jamie Foxx's performance was great and felt very authentic.


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