Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 69 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In The Soloist, an emotionally soaring drama about the redemptive power of music, journalist Steve Lopez discovers Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a former classical music prodigy, playing his violin on the streets of L.A. As Lopez endeavors to help the homeless man find his way back, a unique friendship is formed, one that transforms both their lives. (Paramount) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. 90
    A triumphant movie about failure.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Isn't so much a story of perseverance and musical triumph as it is of despair, acceptance, and social commitment. The movie's a call to arms: We are our brothers' keepers, it says, and our brothers are in terrible shape.
  3. 75
    In the end, The Soloist isn't about BIG MOMENTS, it's about the grace notes, the kind that stay with you.
  4. 67
    You can't help but feel a connection to Downey and Foxx and, to a lesser degree, a rooting interest in the story. But try as Wright might, he never figures out a way to bring us in -- much less manipulate us -- cinematically.
  5. 63
    The problem with The Soloist is that, while Wright shows admirable restraint in dramatizing the interaction between the two principals and does not fall into the trap of following a "movie of the week" formula about mental illness, there is little emotional resonance in the story.
  6. As a drama, The Soloist is stuck before it starts.
  7. By consistently and relentlessly overplaying everything, by settling for standard easy emotions when singular and heartfelt was called for, by pushing forward when they should have pulled back, director Joe Wright and screenwriter Susannah Grant have made the story mean less, not more. Instead of enhancing The Soloist's appeal, they have come close to eliminating it.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 35
  2. Negative: 7 out of 35
  1. JulieS
    Apr 25, 2009
    This is such a beautiful film, Downey performance is always incredibly nuanced and I just enjoy the creativity that he brings to each role. Foxx was good too, i thought he was gonna over act his role but he did it amazing. Collapse
  2. ChrisE
    Apr 29, 2009
    Excellent film, very inspirational to everyone.
  3. SusanS.
    Jan 17, 2010
    This is one of the best films I saw in 2009. I'm sorry it got so little reception and that most of the critics did not seem to know how to handle it. Anyone who has worked, lived with or been close to someone with schizophrenia will probably be deeply moved by this movie. This is not a film of easy answers. But it's subject matter is not easy. It's not A Beautiful Mind or Shine, where the characters are suddenly transformed by the power of music or math or whatever. It deals with the reality of schizophrenia and homelessness, which are both terrifying, dizzying, and messy issues that cannot be solved with one helping hand and musical instrument. The acting, writing, and directing are amazing, as is the cinematography (the first sequence on skid row and an "internal" light show are particularly notable). I went into this film unsure about it, as the previews depicted it as one of those feel good inspirational stories, but was totally blown away. To think that films like Up in the Air and Avatar are stealing all the acclaim for 2009 and this film is getting left in the dust is heartbreaking. It's truly a masterpiece. Expand
  4. Enrique
    Apr 26, 2009
    Very well conceived cinematographically. Superb acting. A moving, thought provoking film.
  5. picasaGoya
    May 3, 2009
    I feel that I would have appreciated this movie much more had I been more appreciative of the Music-Color Vibrations you almost were required to understand to fully get the most of the movie and the artistic genius Mr Foxx's character portrayed. Expand
  6. JasonH
    May 11, 2009
    I wanted to like this movie, I really did. However, the story just left me feeling empty. The entire film was an edge-of-your-seat experience, but only in anticipation of when Nathanial Meyers would freak out next, or if he would get assaulted on the streets of LA. The problem was that there was no rising sense of accomplishment, no progress. In the end, Nathanial is still crazy, albeit he has an apartment, and LA is has tons of homeless people. Expand
  7. MingV.
    Jul 25, 2009
    Turgid, chaotic, tedious .. I do not even find Foxx's acting anything decent as well, just like a kid playing a mental illness person. It is supposed to be a film about a music genius however the use of music is nowhere near ingenious. Expand

See all 35 User Reviews