The Soloist (2009) – Film Review


Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jnr) a columnist for the Los Angeles Times comes across a schizophrenic homeless man, Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) who plays beautiful violin music. Writing about him touches the hearts of his readers, and Lopez wants to find ways to help Nathaniel to improve his life, regardless of whether Nathaniel wants or needs this assistance.

It’s based on a true story which can sometimes make for fairly twee films, but this one worked for me. Possibly it is in part my delight at watching Robert Downie Jnr, who is definitely one of my favourite actors, but it is also a well structured film which shows great empathy for both Ayers and Lopez. I found the scenes depicting Ayers during some of the bad times of his schizophrenia were a bit heavy-handed, but this did set up his emotional state for later in the film.

It seems that every film I’ve watched recently is long, and like many of them, I think it could have been cut down a bit. It takes a really, really special film to hold my attention for two hours, and whilst I enjoyed this film, it ain’t two-hours-long-special.