On August 4th, Paramount Home Entertainment will release The Soloist on DVD & Blu-ray. Starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr., The Soloist is one of those rare movies that hits all the right notes. This dramatic film which released in 2009 is not a happy movie or a feel-good movie. However, it is an emotionally satisfying movie about the restorative effects of friendship and music.
The Soloist is based upon the moving true story of Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx). Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist, has a chance encounter with homeless and disturbed man, Nathaniel Ayers, who is playing a two-stringed violin on the streets of L.A. During their strange conversation, Ayers mentions to Lopez that he went to Julliard. Lopez senses a story and begins to write a series of columns about Ayers. At first Ayers is just a topic for his column, but over time, a relationship begins to form that leads to an unexpected friendship which will transform both men.
One of the nice surprises about The Soloist is the strong Christian presence. A Christian ministry called the Lamp provides aid and housing for the homeless of L.A. and becomes a resource for both Ayers and Lopez, and Graham Claydon (Tom Hollander), a Los Angeles Philharmonic cellist, attempts to help rehabilitate Ayers and pray for him.
Unfortunately, The Soloist did not do well at the box office based upon several factors – none of them related to what a gritty and moving story this is. I have not previously been a fan of Jamie Foxx, but he brings schizophrenic Nathaniel Ayers to life. Robert Downey Jr. is believable as a detached, driven professional who learns what friendship is all about.
The Soloist debuts August 4, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray and includes bonus features including: commentary by director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice), “An Unlikely Friendship: Making The Soloist”, “Kindness, Courtesy and Respect: Mr. Ayers + Mr. Lopez”, “One Size Does Not Fit All: Addressing Homelessness in Los Angeles” and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray also includes a piece titled “Juilliard: The Education of Nathaniel Ayers”. The Soloist is rated PG-13 and is 116 minutes long.
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