Directed by Joe Wright
A newspaper columnist befriends a homeless street musician.
By “forcing it to fit into the Procrustean bed of Hollywood convention,” The Soloist ruins a remarkable true story, said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. Robert Downey Jr. plays Steve Lopez, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times who happens to form an unlikely friendship with Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a homeless schizophrenic who was once a promising cellist at Juilliard. Their “sensitive, nuanced relationship” was wonderfully recounted in Lopez’s columns and then a book. But this film fails to “do justice to the complexities of the real story.” Director Joe Wright tries “desperately” to inspire us and “win our love,” said Jason Lynch in People. Rather than let the events speak for themselves, he incites emotions with flashbacks and an overuse of orchestral scoring, suffusing every second with heartbreak. The only part of the film that hits the right notes is the acting, said David Denby in The New Yorker. Just when you think The Soloist is “turning into vapor,” Foxx and Downey bring it “back to earth” with their unshowy, restrained performances.