I'll admit up front, that I picked up this movie for Robert Downey Jr. Yes, I'm one of those old school movie watchers who will follow actors into some really bad movies, because I enjoy watching them work. Fortunately, this was not a really bad movie -- far from it. The Soloist was different from what I expected, more of a message movie, but it still engaged me and held my interest for 117 minutes. Of course, this was mainly due to the two leads, Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Fox.
Robert Downey Jr. was a bit restrained here, playing a real person (LA Times reporter Steve Lopez) in a real situation (dealing with loneliness and his own fears), but with his usual mesmerizing energy. Jamie Fox continues to be a revelation, as he exercised his chameleon abilities to sink entirely and believably into the role of homeless musician Nathaniel Ayers. And both actors play beautifully off each other in this story of a reporter looking for a story and finding a person, damaged, but demanding to be seen as a human being. It's a story where most of the action is interior, within the characters -- as they both work toward regaining contact with the people around them and each other. The movie isn't escapist fare. There's nothing entertaining about a schizophrenic gifted musician surviving among the 60,000 homeless in Los Angeles. Nor does it have the usual neatly tied up happy ending. In the movie, friendship and compassion do not conquer all, but instead are celebrated for their existence in such an enervating environment. And yet it is not a depressing movie, just one that makes you think, feel and appreciate a bit more.
Reserve your copy of the DVD.
Reserve your copy of the book by Steve Lopez this movie is based upon
Reserve your copy of the audio book by Steve Lopez this movie is based upon