Musical maestro meets mad man
If you have a passion and you find joy in everything you do, then you would understand The Soloist.
The movie stars Jamie Foxx playing a homeless man, Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Jr., who is devoted to playing music.
Not only was Foxx’s physical character extremely believable, but his mental state was one that only a great actor could capture. He led the audience to believe that his mind was somewhere else, in another world.
Foxx’s costar, Robert Downey Jr., also played his role as the Los Angeles Times journalist Steve Lopez very well. He started out as a man just looking for a story, but what he found was something much more interesting.
He saw a life that once was: a person who was capable of achieving great talent and had still held on to it even as the world around him changed. He found a person who could put his love for music above all and compromise it for no one. He accidentally found Nathaniel playing his two-string violin in front of a Beethoven statue.
The audience soon learns that Nathaniel was once a student at Juilliard for his brilliant musical talent. At this point, the story becomes more interesting. Steve writes his article about Nathaniel, but things don’t just stop there.
The publication of the piece brings recognition to Nathaniel and people take an interest in his story. An old woman with arthritis who can no longer play her cello donates it to Nathaniel, and the audience finds out that the cello was Nathaniel’s original love.
From then on, Nathaniel and Steve are constantly together. Steve puts their differences in economic status aside and does something for Nathaniel that no one has done in a long time: he gives him friendship. Throughout the movie, the two build a relationship based on lies.
Although Nathaniel begins to trust Steve, or Mr. Lopez as he calls him, Steve considers Nathaniel to be a schizophrenic and wants to help him out of his current situation. After Nathaniel realizes that this is how his newfound friend thinks of him, their relationship changes drastically. This twist in the plot seems inevitable, as the story is too good to be true up to this point.
The audience watches Nathaniel become self-conscious and, through his reflections of his past, they watch how he became what he is today. Steve’s transformation from a journalist to a friend is also clearly depicted.
This movie takes the audiences through the tragedies and triumphs in Nathaniel’s life and displays them from three different perspectives: Steve’s, Nathaniel’s, and an outsider’s. The viewer is given a chance to glance into the mind of a musical genius.
In the movie, Nathaniel is referred to by a professor at Juilliard as “the most gifted kid” he has ever met, and with this film, viewers get to meet that person and see his transition over the years.
Based on a true story, The Soloist has the power to capture the heart of everyone who watches it, demanding everyone’s attention and bringing audiences to see a perspective other than their own.
Nathaniel’s wild outfits and crazy style, as well as his distinct personality that stands out throughout the film, remind audience members that they cannot change people and they should accept friends for who they are. It begs the audience to look beyond a person’s appearance and actually consider who a person might be or might have been before his or her current situation.
The film evokes a lot of thought and reminds all people to look at their own lives and not compare them to the lives of others. While some people may seem to be in a worse situation, they might be happy right where they are. Perhaps that’s what’s best for them.