The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez. It portrays the real-life story of Lopez (Robert Downey, Jr.) and a homeless schizophrenic, Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx). A Juilliard dropout, Ayers has landed on the streets, his belongings reduced to a shopping cart of trash.

One day, Lopez notices this homeless man playing a two-stringed violin; sensing a story, he stops to learn more. Ayers's mention of Juilliard intrigues the newspaperman. Lopez begins to spend time with Ayers, and the two gradually develop a friendship.

Over the course of The Soloist, Lopez helps Ayers reconnect with his music. In doing so, he discovers that helping someone struggling with severe mental illness is not an easy task. At times Ayers is violent. The men experience both setbacks and triumphs. Lopez also learns some of the complex challenges involved in mental illness and homelessness.

By the end of the movie, Lopez has come to realize that what Ayers needs most is not material, but relational and spiritual--better living conditions, yes, but more importantly, a friend. In the end, The Soloist is the story of how one man sets out to help his homeless brother and ultimately learns from him the true nature of grace and love.


Reflections to Consider

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  • River of Love

    There's a river of love that runs through all timeBut there's a river of grief that floods through our livesIt Read More
  • I Am Nothing

    I stutter when I tryTo speak the language of lifeI want to shout out loudBut I just cry insideSometimes it Read More
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Audio & Video

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  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Christ is a Great Savior: a review of the movie Amazing Grace +

    Amazing Grace is a historical drama about William Wilberforce who was elected to British Parliament at the age of 21 Read More
  • Wilberforce, Hollywood's Amazing Grace, Charlotte Allen +

    William Wilberforce's relentless campaign eventually led the British Parliament to ban the slave trade, in 1807, and to pass a Read More
  • Making Beauty out of Ugly Things: Grace by U2 +

    Grace, she takes the blame She covers the shame Removes the stain It could be her name Grace, she carries Read More
  • The True Nature of Grace and Love: a movie review of the Soloist +

    The 2009 movie The Soloist is based on a book by the same name, written by Los Angeles Times columnist Read More
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