The Soloist, released in Canada on April 24, 2009, is a Joe Wright project featuring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.
The plot is thus. RDJ is an uninspired newspaper columnist brainstorming for material when he encounters the gifted Juilliard dropout, portrayed by Foxx, who is mentally ill and homeless. The predictability factor is over the top. Yes, Foxx's character is talented and likeable and misunderstood and tragic. And yes, the writer is apathetic, then intrigued, then determined to rescue, and battling his own demons along the way. Are you seated? Yes, they each learn from the other and the connection is tear-jerking. Except it isn't. Beyond predictable, the plot is contrived, the emotional efforts require a little too much effort, the dialogue is blah, and the overall impact is disappointing.
As for Oscar potential, the movie, screenplay and directorship leave no impression. Downey Jr. delivered an entirely forgettable performance. However, based on last year's nomination for the beyond ridiculous Tropic Thunder, the Academy may be high enough on him to surprise us with another nod. Now let's talk about Jamie Foxx. We know the lad can act following the Ray execution. But watching him in this role was tedious. In fairness, the poor performances may be a direct result of shabby screenplay.
The Soloist is a rental, at best.