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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The filmmakers shot on "skid row" in Los Angeles, which is known for being home to one of the largest stable populations of transient persons (homeless) in the United States. See more »
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 »
[greeting his co-workers]
Buen dia, muchachos.
"Points West" by Steve Lopez. A construction worker in Griffith Park heard the
[swerving his bicycle to avoid a raccoon]
He saw a cyclist cartwheel off his bike and slam face-first into the unforgiving asphalt of Riverside Drive.
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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 »
I sometimes work clinically with schizophrenics. This film shows us the truth about working with severely mentally ill people. David, the man who runs the shelter for the homeless honestly spoke the truth with his stance that is opposite of what the Pharmaceutical Industry, most of psychiatry and the legal system try to make us believe. David was my hero in this movie.
All though the movie goes quickly over Jamie Fox's childhood trauma and losses -- it's still there, i.e. no father and the truck on fire represent some of the traumas that created his illness. Homeless people with mental illness did not come from healthy childhoods. Almost all came from repeated childhood trauma.(see New Zealand Psychologist John Read PhD and colleagues, the ACE Study from the CDC, and Charles Whitfield's book The Truth about Mental Illness, 2004).
Hollywood did not cover over the painful truths in this story. Jamie Fox's character's mother and his sister were good people and that comes through but they couldn't prevent his wounding. At the end of the film, we are told "90,000 Homeless people in Los Angeles." We walked out of the theater overwhelmed with that figure and uplifted by this true story.
If you're really interested in the truth about schizophrenia there is an excellent DVD documentary called Take These Broken Wings: Recover from Schizophrenia without Medication by Daniel Mackler
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