Related Text: The Soloist (2009 film)

The Soloist (2009)

The Soloist (2009)

I just watched this on DVD over the weekend and the Soloist is very moving/sad story! It was released in 2009 and stars Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

Synopsis (includes spoilers for ending)

The film is based on a true story about Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a musical prodigy who develops schizophrenia and becomes homeless, playing a violin on the streets. Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr),  a columnist for the LA Times, comes across Ayers on the street and decides to write about him. Through his column, a woman sends Lopez her cello to give to Ayers. From there, Lopez and Ayers develop a struggling friendship, which leads Lopez to try to help Ayers by organising an apartment for him, music lessons and even a concert performance. However, Lopez’s attempts to ‘help’ Ayers eventually brings the two characters into conflict. What Lopez then realises is that he cannot cure Ayers of schizophrenia – all he can do is offer his friendship.

Related Text Potential:

Belonging AOS:

This film obviously deals with experiences of ostracisation (not belonging) faced by the homeless and mentally ill. For example, there are the key scenes where Ayers first experiences schizophrenic episodes and everyone in the theatre seats disappear.

There is also the idea of belonging to place/objects. For example, Ayers is attached to his trolley cart, which contains all his belongings – he insists on dragging it around everywhere. You also see his sense of belonging to the road underpass Lopez first finds him.

There are also ideas of belonging to family and friends. Ayers and Lopez develop a strong friendship and Lopez and his sister are reunited at the end – these are the bonds, which give Ayers a sense of belonging to the world. There is also the sense of belonging between the mentally ill community at the Lamp. Despite all being ‘outsiders’, they form their own sense of community.

Standard English – Module A – Distinctively Visual

This could also work as a related text for Distinctively Visual. There are some key moments in the film, where visuals are used to convey a lot of meaning (see below for examples).


Some notable film techniques include:

  • the use of flashbacks to Ayers past
  • the use of music
  • the symbolism of the birds flying over the city
  • the clothing/costumes that Ayers wears
  • the myriad of techniques used to show Ayer’s perspective (his schizophrenic episodes)
  • the symbolism of the raccoons

All the best, if you anyone chooses to use this text!

11 comments for “Related Text: The Soloist (2009 film)

  1. elise
    October 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    hi do you know of any good related texts i could do for belonging, i am studying romulus my father.

    thanks 🙂

  2. Phoebe
    December 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Hello, I’m looking for related texts for the year 11 area of study ‘Identity’. Just wondering if you have any recommended sites to visit – couldn’t find a list on ‘insidebreak’ site and still figuring out how to use ‘boredofstudies’.
    (NB: Just finished yr 10, looking to read ahead.)

    • tutortales
      December 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

      Hi Phoebe – Yr 11 AOSs vary from school to school, so unfortunately there isn’t really a set website to deal with Identity related texts. However, like Identity is closely tied with Belonging and, like Belonging, can be found in most texts. For Australia texts, specifically – this site looks good:
      The BoredofStudies website is a bit “down” at the moment, as it was recently hacked. But you may still find some help there from other posters.

      • Phoebe
        December 21, 2010 at 7:29 pm

        Thank you, appreciate your help.

  3. dave
    March 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Could you elaborate on all the techniques in the film?
    Such as the symbolism of the raccoons and birds, the use of music, his outfits and the techniques used to shows Ayers perspective?

  4. Tayla
    August 19, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Hi, I’m doing Run Lola Run and i don’t know a good related texts would you have any ideas on what i could use? It cant be a movie though

  5. January 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Hi, I want to use this as one of my hsc belonging texts and the techniques listed are great, however I don’t really know what they mean.
    Could you be more specific about how they portray the aspect of belonging?

  6. andrew
    October 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

    i am doin maestro on distinctively visual
    and do u know any other related texts i could use?

  7. Sarah Dirani
    April 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Hey does anyone know more about this film The Soloist as I’m doing it for my English speech for distinctively visual?
    any help would be great! 🙂

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