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Movie: The Soloist (2009)

Disclaimer: This is a rather long post but without spoiler.

Life has a mind of its own
- a simple yet remarkable tagline for "The Soloist".

"The Soloist" is a movie based on the true remarkable story of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Jr., a homeless, talented, yet schizophrenic musician. Steve Lopez, a LA Times journalist discovered him on the streets and wrote about him. That's how the movie goes.

Here's a longer synopsis from the DVD cover that I bought: In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) more than his face injury from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. That is when he discovers Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Jr. (Jamie Foxx), a mentally-ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even through his half-broken instruments.

Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more, to help both him and the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. However, Lopez's good intentions run headlong in the harsh realities of the strength of Ayers' personal demons and the larger social injustices faced by the homeless.

Let me share what I get from watching this movie.
Life really has a mind of its own. Amazing movie.

As I spent a quiet, solitary Saturday afternoon watching this movie on my laptop, I found myself very drawn to three things. First, it's a true story about a writer and a musician. I love writing and I can't live without music. Writing and music are essential happenings in my life. Listening to music is one thing, getting my fingers on a musical instrument, either a guitar or a piano or a violin is a different story.


Secondly, the relationship between Ayers and Lopez is remarkable. Ayers suffers from schizophrenia and there are times when he loses his clarity and becomes violent, especially when he hears voices in his head. Yet, Lopez, who sometimes is at the brink of giving up, stands by Ayers' side and become his true FRIEND. Friendship is the most remarkable thing that could ever happen in our lives.

Thirdly, I love how the movie is shot. There are scenes that are fully dependent on narratives, flashbacks to emphasize Ayers' life, and heavy portrayals of human emotions as the characters interact with each other. In fact, tears welled up a few times. Maybe I'm just a tad too sentimental... I couldn't help it. And of course, both Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. are superb actors and they're perfect for their roles in the movie.

"I've learned the dignity of being loyal to something you believe in, of holding on to it, above all else, of believing, without question, that it'll carry you home."
~ Steve Lopez

It's a remarkable movie. That's all I can say. Highly recommended for those who crave for a laid back movie with a simple storyline, yet rich in human emotions. You won't regret watching this one. :)

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