6.7/10
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159 user 203 critic

The Soloist (2009)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 24 April 2009 (USA)
Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
A newspaper journalist discovers a homeless musical genius and tries to improve his situation.

Director:

Joe Wright

Writers:

Susannah Grant (screenplay), Steve Lopez (book)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Foxx ... Nathaniel Ayers
Robert Downey Jr. ... Steve Lopez
Catherine Keener ... Mary Weston
Tom Hollander ... Graham Claydon
LisaGay Hamilton ... Jennifer Ayers (as Lisagay Hamilton)
Nelsan Ellis ... David Carter
Rachael Harris ... Leslie Bloom
Stephen Root ... Curt Reynolds
Lorraine Toussaint ... Flo Ayers
Justin Martin ... Young Nathaniel
Kokayi Ampah ... Bernie Carpenter
Patrick Tatten ... Paul Jr.
Susane Lee ... Marisa (as Susane E. Lee)
Marcos De Silvas ... Mayor Villaraigosa
Ilia Volok ... Harry Barnoff

Through the Lens of 'Darkest Hour' Director Joe Wright

See how director Joe Wright uses his signature tracking shots to set up a visual narrative for his films, including Atonement, The Soloist, and Hanna.

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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:

Life has a mind of its own 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jamie Foxx had his teeth ground down for the role of Ayers. He says, "My teeth are just so big and white, a homeless person would never have them." See more »

Goofs

In his commentary during the scene when Lopez meets Ayers in the tunnel, director Joe Wright admits that the traffic is all vehicles from the production going around and around (at approx. 17:30). Just after he says that (between 17:35 and 17:59), several vehicles in the background of the shot are indeed visible, though out of focus, making u-turns one after another. 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

Featured in The 81st Annual Academy Awards (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 9, Op. 123, Mvmt. III
Written by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by The Los Angeles Philharmonic
Conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen
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User Reviews

 
A solid drama on a human scale
28 April 2009 | by MalcolmJTaylorSee all my reviews

After catching snippets of the lackluster reviews (two-stars in the Globe and Mail) I was dis-heartened. It's been a few months since I'd been moved by the trailer. However, the film never came out. I thought it might have been shelved.

I was glad to see it was indeed playing. In spite of the reviews, I persevered on the strength of the trailer. It seemed to me there was too much talent and pedigree involved for it to actually suck. And you know what? it's a terrific film with a poignant story. Perhaps lower expectations propped up my perceptions of it, however, it still stands as time well spent.

The film is based on a true story involving a top columnist at the LA Times, Steve Lopez, played with grace by Robert Downey Jr., who becomes invested in one of his more colourful subjects, Nathaniel Ayers, an accomplished musician overcome by mental illness, now living on the streets of LA portrayed by Jamie Foxx, who rambles his way to a convincing performance.

The film is a satisfying adult drama that doesn't lose it's direction. It doesn't pander to it's audience. There is no random violence, no guns, but indeed simply good story telling with great characterizations. It's a decent film that deserves better treatment in the press. It has a noble heart that succeeds in telling a great human story.

It resonates and strikes a chord.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Imagining Beethoven See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,716,458, 26 April 2009

Gross USA:

$31,720,158

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,332,994
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color (DeLuxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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