'''''The Soloist''''' is a 2009 drama film directed by JoeWright, and starring Jamie Foxx and RobertDowneyJr. It is [[FilmOfTheBook based on the book of the same title]] by Steve Lopez. Steve Lopez is also the main character of the film, and the film essentially chronicles the events which supposedly led to the writing of the book. Both the film and the book are based on the true story of Nathaniel Ayers, a musical prodigy who developed schizophrenia and became homeless.
Lopez (Downey) is a journalist working for the L.A. Times. Due to a decline in the reading of newspapers by the youth, the industry is floundering, and Lopez needs to find and write a good story quickly. Idling about in search of one, he happens across Ayers (Foxx), an apparently mentally-handicapped homeless man playing transfixing music on his violin -- despite the fact that the said violin has been worn down to just two strings. Lopez is astonished to learn that Ayers once attended Juilliard. Seeing an opportunity for a story in the form of someone so talented attending such a prestigious school only to wind up on the streets, he contacts Ayers' sister and learns that he dropped out of the school and became homeless due to hearing voices in his head that prevented him from playing in front of an audience. Initially, Lopez sees Ayers only as a source for a story, but through his interactions with him their friendship blossoms and he starts attempting to get Ayers off the street and triumph over his illness.
!!This film provides examples of:
* AmicableExes: Steve and his ex-wife are coworkers at The LA Times and get along just fine.
* "AuraVision" / EditorialSynesthesia: When Ayers listens to the orchestra the audience sees the "colors" the music makes in his mind.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:In the end, Ayers doesn't overcome his illness and graduate from Juilliard. But he does settle in a homeless shelter and acquires a friend.]]
* CrazyHomelessPeople: Nathaniel
* OscarBait: The film's about a homeless, mentally-handicapped, African American musical prodigy and an unlikely friend's attempts to get him off the street and triumph over his illness, by which said friend becomes more compassionate and soft-hearted. And it's based on a book. Which in turn is based on a true story.
* RunningGag: Steve vs. the raccoons.