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Did 'The Soloist' mock L.A.'s skid row homeless? [Updated]

May 14, 2009 |  2:05 pm


It's a wonder anyone in Hollywood even bothers making movies about social issues anymore, considering the abuse filmmakers have to endure from social activists after their film arrives in theaters. A perfect example would be "The Soloist," which most moviegoers avoided, no doubt in part because it appeared to actually deal with the grim issues of homelessness in Los Angeles.

But for educator-activist Linda Milazzo, the movie, which dramatized the real-life relationship between L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez (played by Robert Downey Jr.) and homeless musician Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), was little more than "an orgiastic assault on the poor and the mentally ill." In her post in the Huffington Post, Milazzo got herself incredibly worked up over the fact that "The Soloist" doesn't accurately reflect the vibrant community that is skid row.

As a soft-headed lefty, I really wanted to give Milazzo the benefit of the doubt, since she has clearly spent years doing important work in the homeless community.

Patrick Goldstein

Read the rest of Patrick Goldstein's article at The Big Picture.

Updated: "Soloist" director Joe Wright on why he hired homeless people for the movie.

Photo: DreamWorks