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Movie Reviews

Film Review: “The Soloist”

(Dreamworks. 1 hour, 49 minutes. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug use and language. Directed by Joe Wright.) Robert Downey Jr. (Steve Lopez), Jamie Foxx (Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, Jr.), Catherine Keener (Mary). Music by Dario Marianelli.


Based on the novel of the same name, The Soloist follows LA Times columnist Steve Lopez as he befriends homeless violinist Nathaniel Ayers, a Julliard dropout suffering from schizophrenia. As Lopez attempts to help Ayers, he eventually discovers that what Ayers needs most is a friend. The talented cast really carries the film, delivering some very convincing performances. Downey Jr.’s deadpan, surprisingly funny Lopez slowly warms to Foxx’s Nathaniel, who is tense, paranoid and unpredictable. Keener’s Mary, world-weary and acid-tongued, provides a good foil to her estranged husband Lopez.

Marianelli provides a pretty soundtrack that compliments the Beethoven and Bach it frames. Visually, the movie is impressive, combining intimate moments with sweeping crane shots and some interesting effects. It also believably illustrates the difficulties the homeless face, not just in dealing with illnesses and/or drug use, but the terrifying gauntlets one might face in the path to getting help. While the film is refreshingly devoid of cheap sentimentality, it never really finds its message out of the many themes it presents (power of friendship, power of music, the plight of the homeless/mentally ill, etc.). The script’s tendency towards meandering doesn’t help matters either. A compelling, if flawed, story of friendship.

Jared Counts

Jared Counts

Digital Technology Manager

A UH alum, Jared Counts was hired part-time at KUHF Radio in early 2003, bouncing between departments until being hired full-time as a web developer in February 2007. He currently manages the front- and back-end of this website (including the WordPress plugin that runs this staff directory), as well as...

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