Today I saw The Soloist, featuring Jamie Foxx as a homeless man with schizophrenia who had been a gifted cellist and a student at Juilliard, and Robert Downey Jr. as a burned-out reporter for the Los Angeles Times. The film is based on a true story that became a book by the reporter, Steve Lopez. It’s another Oscar-worthy performance by Jamie Foxx, whom I loved as Ray Charles, and Downey is great as usual, although he’s playing to type as a dissolute, world-weary guy.
Most importantly, the film is a graphic depiction of the harsh realities of schizophrenia. As someone who worked in a psychiatric hospital for 12 years as an art therapist, my primary question was why on earth they didn’t manage to get the poor guy onto some effective meds! They can make life a lot better, and they don’t necessarily destroy creativity – I should know, I’ve been on a modest regimen of low-dose medications for years now for my bipolar disorder.
See the film before it disappears. For those in the Capital District, it’s at the Spectrum through Thursday.
Van Gogh painted The Night Cafe in 1888, two years before his death. He frequented this cafe and described it as a place one might easily go mad. He sold only one painting during his lifetime, but of course his paintings now sell in the multi-millions. This one is in the collection of Yale University, and to me, it vividly portrays the kind of claustrophobic, angst-ridden mood experienced by Jamie Foxx’s character, Nathaniel Ayers.
Thanks to the positive reaction to the Grant Wood painting yesterday, I’ve decided to try including some art with each of my posts. For me, it’s a way of getting in touch with my other persona, the visual artist.