A couple of months ago I saw a news item about a journalist who discovered a homeless man playing amazing classical music on the streets of LA. As I watched this news piece I was thinking that it would make a great movie, little knowing that halfway through the item they’d be showing footage from a soon to be released film based on the story! Not just any movie, mind you, but one starring Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx.
In 2005, Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez, played by Downey Jr, discovers Nathaniel Ayers, Foxx, a mentally ill homeless man who despite his situation has an amazing talent for music. Lopez, struggling to find something to write about, sees a great story with this homeless man and decides to follow Ayers as he writes a series of articles based on his life on the streets and how he got there.
Lopez’s good intentions, however, hit a brick wall as Ayers’ mental illness becomes an obstacle, not only in the writing of the articles, but in Lopez’s life outside his job. Through the relationship the two men form, they end up helping each other fight their inner demons and the injustices of life as a homeless person in LA, where 90,000 people live on the streets.
Being a sucker for a true story, I knew this was going to pull those heartstrings of mine from the start, and with such a strong cast, it was always going to be a well made movie. With music being a huge part of the film, there were some almost surreal musical montages using scenes of LA, and even a colour montage that was affected by the music being played.
This surreal nature almost bordered on a documentary feel or that of an experimental film, but worked well in the context used in this movie. With some striking performances from both leads, I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them up for nominations at next years Academy Awards.
8.5 out of 10 from me!!!