The Soloist – the Movie

the_soloist_movie_poster

What an outstanding film. As you can see, this poster was issued for the planned release for last year, but the film just opened in the USA on Friday. Great poster, though.

This is a movie about humanity, heart, friendship, art, grace, goodness, against the backdrop of acute homelessness in a city and country where you would think we would care more for one another.

Robert Downey, jr. plays Steve Lopez, a columnist for the LA Times, who encounters Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man playing a two stringed violin in a downtown traffic tunnel. They become friends even though Nathaniel is mentally ill and Lopez has to feel his way along as the best way to relate to Nathaniel. The thing is, Lopez never gives up. He is a friend to Nathaniel.  Jamie Foxx plays Nathaniel. Both performances soar off the screen.

Susannah Grant wrote the script, and I loved it. She also wrote Erin Brockovich. Grant knows her way around social issues and tells stories of injustice in ways that make us want to do something rather than just feel guilty.

Thought the cinematography was really fine.

 I first “met” Steve Lopez when I came to Los Angeles in 2002 and Sister Frances told me what a great writer he is and that I would want to read what he has to say. He’s smart and funny and he sees things other people don’t – and has the guts and grace to say it.

This is true.

This is a film not to be missed and it asks, as so many Hollywood – whether big studio or independent – films do: what difference can I make? Longer review to come ….