I just finished watching "The Soloist". I had mixed feelings about wanting to see the film as I have had enough of my own experiences with mentally ill people - I'm never sure if I will be in the mood to have mental illness be the topic of something that is supposed to be "entertaining".
Which brings up another topic...drug abusers... I LOVE Robert Downey Jr. I think he is one of the most talented actors of his generation, to say the very least. Every time he was arrested or went to rehab, it was a little bit heartbreaking to think of someone with such talent having such problems. Interestingly, he is the only "celebrity" who has been on the addiction/rehab/prison merry-g0-round whom I have continued to have an interest in. I loved him in his early movies, in "Heart and Souls" and "Chaplin", in "Only You" and more recently in his comeback smash, "Ironman". There is just something about his eyes that draw me in. I'm glad he seems to have overcome his demons and his past.
As for the movie, I thought it was well-done, very thoughtful and had powerful performances by both RDJ and Jamie Foxx. For me, however, I felt somewhat removed from it - I was expecting a more emotional experience, but I didn't really go there. Again, I believe it is due to my own personal experiences with actual people who have mental illness - it is difficult for me to watch and to engage in this topic. I would recommend the film as it does give a unique perspective and shows some of the pitfalls of trying to "fix" people who are not interested in being fixed. I recommend RDJ's performance as well as Jamie Foxx's turn as Nathaniel, a talented musician who is also schizophrenic and homeless.