Last week at the D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, students had the opportunity to view “The Soloist.”
The title should be familiar to freshman students, since they read the novel it is based on as part of Freshmen Year Initiative (FYI).
Based on a true story, the film tells the story of Steve Lopez, (Robert Downey Jr.), a jaded, disillusioned columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Recently divorced, he no longer knows why he writes what he does.
Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (Jamie Foxx) is a prodigal cellist, a Julliard School dropout and a homeless schizophrenic, who Lopez finds playing a two-stringed violin in the slums of Los Angeles. The movie follows Lopez as he writes columns about Ayers and helps Ayers get back on his feet.
However, the true hero of the movie is Ayers, who inspires Lopez with the power of his passion for music, especially Beethoven, and his determination. The movie is the story of friendship and the power of music, masterfully directed by Joe Wright. In addition, the film sends a message: There is a gulf between the wealthy and the poor, and it is a problem.
However, freshman students who have read the book tell another story.
Naomi Wasserman and Elisha Helgen said the movie put too much emphasis on the book’s negative aspects. Specifically, it did not focus on the issue of Ayer’s mental state.
Additionally, they said the movie creators damaged the plot slightly by inserting events not found in the book.
Others took issue with the film’s musical ties.
“There definitely was the power of music,” said student Carolyn Carlins, “(and an) awareness of homeless with mental illness.”
But she said she was surprised the movie didn’t center more on the music itself.
Lopez also spoke in person Tuesday night at the Performing Arts Center.