6.7/10
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149 user 208 critic

The Soloist (2009)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 April 2009 (USA)
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ON DISC
A Los Angeles journalist befriends a homeless Juilliard-trained musician, while looking for a new article for the paper.

Director:

Writers:

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

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

No one changes anything by playing it safe See more »

Genres:

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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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

24 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Imagining Beethoven  »

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lorraine Toussaint (who played Mr. Ayers' mother), LisaGay Hamilton (who played Mr. Ayers' sister Jennifer), and Nelsan Ellis (who played LAMP director David Carter) are all real-life graduates of The Juilliard School's Drama Division. Mr. Ayers was a student in their prestigious Music Division. See more »

Goofs

Lopez is seen standing trying to open the drink that was offered by Nathaniel. You then see Lopez leaning against the wall with the can held close to Lopez's body as the camera quickly cuts away between shots. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

References Hawaii Five-O (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Sonata for Cello & Piano, Op. 102, No. 1, Mvmt. I
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Adapted by Dario Marianelli
Performed by The Los Angeles Philharmonic
Conducted by Benjamin Wallfisch
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Music Menanced By Madness
3 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Within a one-week period, I saw my second screening of this powerful movie today. I am mystified by some of the "bilious-type" reviews found here, seemingly driven by an anti-Joe Wright campaign. I found no cheap sentiments in the story line and I was awed by the high-octane performances of Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr. Nothing being perfect in an imperfect world, as "adult" entertainment, "The Soloist" did not once insult my intelligence. I marveled at the complexity of the screenplay and the realization of it by its gifted director and the camera-work of Seamus McGarvey. The gifted Dario Marianelli is credited as the film's composer, anecdotally, in the gigantic shadow of Ludwig van Beethoven. Mental illness, genius, homelessness, journalism and music has rarely been so well presented as an "entertainment." Yes, Mr. Ayers is depicted as experiencing a "light show" when attending a rehearsal of the L. A. Philharmonic. At least we didn't see pink hippopotamus in tutus or dinosaurs on a rampage in a prehistoric setting. Being so accustomed to televised concerts, I expected the camera to focus on the instruments themselves in this sequence. And, "clapping pigeons." Great idea that works. A brave film directed at a "non-art house" audience. I also want to cite the wonderful work of Nelsan Ellis who plays David at LAMP. So much compassion comes off the screen with his presence. There is no way we can make "light" of the tragedy of the homeless, so many with mental illness. Thank you Mr. Steve Lopez for introducing me to Mr. Nathaniel Anthony Ayers. My life is richer for the experience. LisaGay Hamilton, as Jennifer Ayers, Nathaniel's sister, deserves recognition in a small, but pivotal role that brings dignity and catharsis to a heart-wrenching experience.


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