The Soloist

Theatrical Release: April 24, 2009
The Soloist


Based on the true story of musical prodigy Nathaniel Ayers, who developed schizophrenia in his second year at Juilliard and ended up homeless on the streets of downtown L.A. where he performs the violin and cello.

The drama is based on the relationship the musician developed with Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times reporter whose column informed the script, as did a book Lopez is writing that Putnam will publish in the spring.

Dove Review

It’s intriguing that this film is based on a true story. Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx) is a homeless man but different than most. He is a musical prodigy who attended Julliard and who has a mental illness. When L.A. Times news reporter Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) comes across him on the street and hears him play, he can’t help but take an interest in Ayers’ story and background. He begins by writing about him and how he plays a violin with two strings. Soon people donate instruments to Ayers and Lopez begins to take a personal interest in Ayers, trying to figure out what is wrong with him and if medication would help.

The positive side to this movie is that it is well made. Robert Downey Jr. puts his heart into the role of Lopez, the reporter with a big heart. Foxx is exceptional too as Nathaniel. The story is interesting and the direction is taut. The themes include helping people out and ultimately, Lopez determines to be Ayers’ friend no matter what. The negative side of this movie is that it is not a family movie, as it has strong language in it consistently and some bloody scenes. It is unfortunate but we are unable to award our Dove Seal to this movie as a family-friendly picture.

Content Description

Sex: Man lives with woman and it appears she is not his wife but this is not clear.
Language: GD-1; JC/C-4; G/OMG-3; F-2; S-8; SOB-2; D-2; H-2; P-2; Freakin'-1; Crap-1; Fart-1; Word "penis" on a coffee mug.
Violence: Man falls off bike and is bloodied and taken to emergency; man cuts off cars a few times; man is struck by car but not hurt; a car is seen on fire in a bad neighborhood at night; a man's body is found in streets with wounds and he had overdosed; a fight on the streets; man punches another man in anger; blood seen on street.
Drugs: Smoking in a quick scene and couldn't tell if it was cigarette or drugs; smoking and wine; a woman says she thought a man was on cocaine but he wasn't; smoking crack scene; a woman picks up cigarette off street.
Nudity: Girl in short shorts; shirtless man is seen.
Other: Man seen on toilet and man at urinal and another man drops urine sample; urine spills on man; many homeless and their poverty on the streets is seen; character hears the word "whiteness" in his head and thinks back on when he was only black student in a class; a sign is seen of the atheists of greater L.A.; a man prays the Lord's prayer but later this mentally ill man says he believes a man he knows is God; man tells other man he will give him eternal life but it is in jest; man freaks out at public event.


Company: DreamWorks
Writer: Susannah Grant and Steve Lopez
Director: Joe Wright
Producer: Gary Foster
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 105 min.
Industry Rating: PG-13
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter