DVD The Soloist [DVD] [Sensormatic] (DVD 4669252),
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The Soloist [DVD] [Sensormatic]
Region 1 USA/CA (
Director Joe Wright (ATONEMENT, PRIDE & PREJUDICE) brings the true story of an unlikely friendship to life in THE SOLOIST. An award-winning columnist with the Los Angeles Times, Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) ultimately becomes an advocate for L.A.'s homeless population when he meets Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a talented musician who's been playing a two-stringed violin while living on the streets and battling mental illness. Struck by Ayers's passion for music, Lopez begins to write a series of columns about his new acquaintance while attempting to get him off the streets and playing music again. Amidst numerous achievements and setbacks, Lopez and Ayers develop a friendship based on mutual respect despite their many differences, and Lopez rediscovers his humanity.
While the focus of the film is the relationship that develops between the two men, the film also tackles the harsh realities of homelessness and the plight of the mentally ill. Lending authenticity to the story, a number of L.A.'s homeless population were cast as extras in the film. An additional subplot is the quandary that daily newspapers face as the world and the news increasingly go electronic, and popular news becomes more sensationalistic. Foxx is both heartbreaking and life-affirming as Ayers, whose undiagnosed schizophrenia drove him away from Juilliard as a young man, and whose fierce independence keeps him on the streets. Downey Jr. turns in a nuanced performance as Lopez, who finally realizes that while he may not be able to save Ayers, he can accept him as he is. Catherine Keener, Lisa Gay Hamilton, and Tom Hollander appear in supporting roles.
- for thematic elements, some drug use and language
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 349444
Tom Hollander, Jamie Foxx, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Robert Downey, Catherine Keener
"Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx are on fire in the lead roles: They're both charismatic as hell without sacrificing any of the emotional honesty necessary for you to believe that these movie stars are a scruffy reporter and mentally ill musician."
3 stars out of 4 -- "The cello's evocative, often melancholy sound envelops THE SOLOIST, highlighting the poignant appeal of this heartfelt film."
"[I]ts commitment to the material feels honest, nowhere more so than in Mr. Downey's darkly shaded, nuanced performance, one that deepens this film with its insistence on the fundamental mysteries of human character."
New York Times
"Mr. Wright and his colleagues have made a movie with a spaciousness of its own, a brave willingness to explore such mysteries of the mind and heart as the torture that madness can inflict, and the rapture that music can confer."
Wall Street Journal
"It's impossible not to be moved by THE SOLOIST, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx....The film is suffused with heartbreak and humanism, as it takes one man's grim story -- early promise, bright future, mental breakdown, despair -- and turns it into a spiritual meditation on friendship."
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Lisa Gay Hamilton
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