Mandy and I saw a movie this weekend that I am officially recommending to all of you. We watched "The Soloist" on Saturday and both loved the film. Jamie Fox plays a schizophrenic, homeless musician who attended Julliard at one point but was forced to quit because of his mental illness. His primary instrument is the cello, but as the movie begins he is playing a beat-up violin with only 2 strings. The plot unfolds around an LA Times columnist (played by Robert Downey Jr.) writing an article about the man, and the friendship that ultimately forms between both men. Downey's character gets the man off the street and playing cello again, serving to greatly influence his life and health.
The movie offers much insight into the life of extreme poverty in a major city. We see homelessness constantly in Seattle, but it is nothing compared with the sort of poverty displayed in "The Soloist." Each day is a struggle to survive both the pangs of hunger and the threat of physical harm. The film also helped me better understand how terrible schizophrenia must be. There is a scene in the middle of the movie where the audience can almost physically feel the confusion and annoyance that must be constantly present with this awful disorder. Overall, the movie had great acting, a compelling story, taught me so much about life on the streets, and left me inspired to seek change for the people I encounter each day.