6.7/10
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156 user 217 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)

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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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
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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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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Nathaniel Ayers was invited to view the filming of the scenes at Disney Hall in Los Angeles, but opted on the day to set up his cello and music across the street and continue playing, saying "I really got something going here. I think I'm going to stay and play this just a little bit longer." Steve Lopez spoke about this incident in an interview conducted by Dave Davies for National Public Radio's program Fresh Air in April 2008. He added: "I look(ed) across (the street from Disney Hall) and there he is sawing away, as he calls it, and inside this building there are maybe three hundred people, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the cast, the crew, are shooting a movie about his life, and I said to Producer Gary Foster, 'You know what Gary? We picked the right name for this thing, The Soloist. There he is.'" See more »

Goofs

Juilliard dance is not a ballet school. Reference was made to ballerinas and you see them in tutus and make up when he is living in NYC and attending Juilliard. Although they do have ballet classes, it is a contemporary dance focus. They do not do ballets. 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.
See more »

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 Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.22 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

1st Cello Suite, Mvmt. I
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performed by Ben Hong
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Other Side of the American Dream
1 April 2010 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In Los Angeles, the reporter of the LA Times Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) writes the successful column Points West. After an accident with his bicycle, Steve wanders on the streets and hears a classic music being played by a homeless violinist with an out of commission violin. Steve starts a conversation with the musician fan of Beethoven Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Jr. (Jamie Foxx) and when the man tells him that he had studied cello in Juilliard, Steve researches his life and writes a series of articles in his column about the talented but mentally ill musician. He befriends the schizophrenic Nathaniel and brings him to the Lamp Community in Los Angeles. The work of Steve Lopez is awarded and he attempts to help the musician, but in his insanity, Nathaniel does not want to change his lifestyle.

"The Soloist" is apparently based on a true story of a relationship of a journalist and a schizophrenic musician and discloses the other side of the American Dream in Los Angeles with 90,000 homeless people. In this regard, this film uses a different approach of Wim Wenders' "Land of Plenty" to slightly show the reality of homeless people in Los Angeles. The problem is that apparently the columnist wrote articles and was awarded, and wrote a book that became a movie, probably making lots of money, while Nathaniel Ayers Jr. is still on the streets and sleeping in a shelter. Please excuse me if I am unfair, but the film does not show a great effort from Steve Lopez to hire a psychologist to help Nathaniel to improve his life. Further, the screenplay is cold despite the choice of two excellent actors in the lead roles. The music score with Beethoven and Bach is a plus in this deceptive film. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "O Solista" ("The Soloist")


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