The Soloist (PG-13)
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This came out in 2009, but I didn't see it until 2018. Sometime in the intervening years, my aunt recommended it to me. I feel like that must have happened just a few years before I got around to watching it, but my sense of time isn't great, so her recommendation could have come earlier than that. In any event, sometime after I finally got it on DVD, I became aware that a Star Wars movie called "Solo" was going to be coming out, and I decided to finally watch my DVD of this movie on the opening night of that movie. Because... "Solo" is close to "Soloist." Yeah, I know... I'm hilarious.
Anyway, Robert Downey, Jr. plays a columnist for the Los Angeles Times named Steve Lopez. One day, he happens to meet a homeless man named Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), who is a very talented violinist. He also has schizophrenia. Lopez decides to write a series of articles about him, and he learns that Ayers used to play cello and attend Julliard, before his condition caused him to drop out. One of Lopez's readers is moved to donate her old cello, which Lopez gives to Ayers, but insists he go to a homeless community called LAMP, instead of staying on the streets all the time. Um... I also need to mention that Lopez's editor at the Times is his ex-wife, Mary Weston (Catherine Keener). Beyond that, I'm not quite sure what to say. Lopez keeps trying to help Ayers, but it isn't easy, because... it's some pretty severe schizophrenia he's got. I also want to say that we get a pretty good look at how bad things are for a lot of other homeless people at LAMP, and it made me feel bad that not much thought was given to helping any of them. Like, just because Ayers had a great talent, did that make him any more deserving of attention than anyone else with similar problems? I don't think so. Still, I suppose this isn't specifically about the plight of the homeless or about mental illness. It's about the relationship between Ayers and Lopez. And that's okay. Especially if it helps raise awareness that could lead to help for other people. And that does seem to be a point of the film's existence, if not necessarily a point of the film's plot.
Well, I thought the movie was okay. I do think it could have been better, and I have no desire to ever watch it again. But I'm glad to have finally seen it. It was definitely worthwhile.