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The Soloist

Jamie Foxx, Robert Downey Jr., Catherine Keener, Tom Hollander, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Nelsan Ellis, Rachael Harris, Stephen Root, Lorraine Toussaint, Justin Martin
Nathaniel Ayers | Robert John Downey, Jr. | Nelsan Ellis | Sigmund Freud | amphetamine | cocaine | crack cocaine | lithium
Spoiler alert
Blog entry

Replete with reasonably authentic efforts at portraying psychopathology, especially of schizophrenia. A young boy hallucinates a burning truck. As a homeless adult he wears bizarre outfits and pushes his belongings in a cart. A homeless woman talks about her ambivalence about taking the lithium that deprives her of comforting hallucinated voices. Another woman displays loose association and flat affect. The protagonist's experience includes command hallucinations and thought broadcasting along with delusional paranoia and synesthesia. His speech displays perseveration and pressure.

Reporter Steve suffers a closed head injury in a bicycle fall. (0:03)

Steve: “Doctors told me to expect up to four weeks of disorientation.” (0:04)

Steve: “Do I need to have been on steroids...” (0:05)

Mary: “Transference
Steve: ”Freud. Freud.” (0:07)

Homeless musician Nathaniel displays loose association, pressured speech. ”Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, Jr.” (0:09)

A lab technician tells Steve, “My dad is gonna freak when he finds out I met you.” (0:12)

Telephone: “Anxiety, restlessness, euphoria.” (0:16)

When Steve accosts Nathaniel he keeps playing the same phrases on his violin. (0:17)

Young Nathaniel tells a music teacher, “I’m crazy about Beethoven.” (0:21)

Nathaniel hallucinates a burning truck rolling past his home. (0:24)

Steve asks Nathaniel, “Are you out of your mind.” (0:29)

A drug dealer approaches Steve’s car: “For cash money I got speed, man.” (0:36)

Steve watches a woman smoking a crack pipe. (0:37)

Support group: Woman: “When they put me on lithium, it was like a portion of my brain was fully functional... when I take the lithium and everything it totally eliminates the voices in my mind... sometimes those voices comfort me... if they give me all this lithium then I no longer have the voices to comfort me.” (0:38)

Leeann tells Steve, “We thought his problem was cocaine... My aunt ended up shock treatments because she didn’t want to go to bed with her sex-crazed husband.” (0:39)

Nathaniel hallucinates distracting voices, some commanding him, as he plays with the orchestra. “They can hear your thoughts, Nathaniel... Run away, Nathaniel... Hide...” (0:45)

Case worker David addresses a woman: “Detroit? anger management.”
Woman”Does it look like anger management to you?”
Steve asks David, “What does he have, schizophrenia?”
”Well, we should hook him up with psychiatric services and find out, right?”
David: “Yeah, I don’t get too hung up on diagnosis.”
”Every one of them’s been diagnosed more than you can imagine...”
Steve: “But he needs medication, right?”
David: ”I tell you what he doesn’t need: one more person telling him he needs medication.” (0:47)

Man lights crack pipe. (0:50)

Steve tells Nathaniel, “Overdose I think.”
Nathaniel: “... that’s just crazy.” (0:51)

Steve writes: “Every night my friend Nathaniel... lays his head among the... fallen drunks...” (0:54)

Nathaniel tells Steve, “They have drug addicts and cigarette smokers here...” (0:56)

Nathaniel appears to perceive music as colors. (1:00)

Mayor Villaraigosa, addressing the audience: “... and skid row is ground zero of the crisis.” (1:03)

Nathaniel hallucinates voices. (1:09)

David tells Steve, “Nathaniel’s made it quite clear he’s not ready to speak to a psychiatrist.”
Steve: ”Tell him he can’t play his instruments until he sits down with a shrink.”
David: “Even if I did want to cohorce [sic] Nathaniel into psychiatry...”
”... I couldn’t force him to take medication.”
Steve: “They’d put him in a psychiatric hospital.”
”And then he would be in a 14-day psychiatric hold, they’d put him on meds... two weeks of meds...” (1:17)

Mary tells the others, referring to Nathaniel, “Well, yeah, he’s mentally ill...” (1:21)

Nathaniel rambles: “... as a youngster labeled mentally ill because of the underlying cigarette habit...” (1:21)

Music teacher Graham tells Nathaniel, “My first concert, I was so nervous, I vomited all down my tuxedo.” (1:23)

Nathaniel hallucinates voices that criticize him as he tries to begin his recital. (1:24)

At home young Nathaniel hallucinations voices. (1:25)

Nathaniel fights off perceived tormentors in the parallel situations. (1:26)

By telephone David tells Steve, referring to Nathaniel, “... ‘cause he’s here, eating a crazy-big breakfast.” (1:31)

Nathaniel asks Steve, “What’s this business about me having a schizophrenic mind?”
”It says that I have a schizophrenic mind.”
”I have a schizophrenic mind.”
”You don’t put me away.” (1:34)