I first saw this movie on Mother’s Day last year. At the time, I was in the midst of my own trauma/drama that comes up around Mother’s day. But sitting and watching this beautiful movie that shows the stark reality of homelessness, my little drama felt so small.
I feel that this is one of the most powerful performances that Robert Downey Jr. has done. It is stripped down and very quiet. Jamie Foxx is wonderful and so is the rest of the cast. The movie is a touching story of friendship, and transformation, for both characters, and the beauty of music. It is based on the book written by Steve Lopez, a journalist still with the LA times, based on the columns he wrote about meeting and befriending a homeless musician named Daniel Ayers, Jr. I was shocked that it didn’t get more attention from critics and during Oscar season.
The movie is an unflinching view of what has taken place in our country since President Reagan emptied out many of the mental institutions and pushed those people out on the streets. Add in the ongoing wars we seem to be in and how very poorly we take care of our veterans, then mix in the result of Reaganomics and then the Bush years…and you have 90,000 homeless people in LA alone. I watched the extras and they interviewed the director of LAMP, the LA men’s program, and she spoke of how for $16,000 a year, per person, these people could go through recovery services, be housed, fed, tended to medically, retrained and helped to be self-sustaining, vs. the $100,000 a year that ends up being spent instead to have them on the streets, the emergency room visits, the police involvement..on and on…for them to end up not getting care, not being self-sustaining, lost as human beings, and really not even being treated as human beings. It is a disgrace to our country. You can find out how to help by visiting <a href="http://www.takepart.com/thesoloist.
Katelon T. Jeffereys