Now let me get one thing clear. I am a HUGE Robert Downey Jr fan and always have been, so I knew this film was going to be a winner from the start. For some reason I kind of expected it to be along the same lines as Will Smiths ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’. You know the kind, really sad but ultimately pretty heartwarming; and I was kind of right.
But there’s more...
Our Robbie is a journalist in this film called Steve Lopez. Now, Lopez is living in a pleasant house all by his lonesome and is a bit down on his luck. He falls off his bike, writes a piece about it and is surprised by the amount of positive feedback he receives and decides that writing sympathetic pieces is the way forward. And so he sets out to find a sad situation worthy of jotting down...
Here he meets Jamie Fox. An amazing gifted musician named Nathaniel Ayers, who is also homeless and mentally challenged. He starts writing the column about Ayers every week, which means he has to spend more and more time with him, gradually building a friendship. The film highlights the intense difficulties in helping someone come to terms with mental illness, and the troubles that come with being friends with someone with these conditions. It also touched on the homeless community of downtown Los Angeles, which I for one, was completely unaware of the severity of the situation.
The performances were exceptional, especially Jamie Fox’s character. Portraying a man with severe mental disturbances in such a believable way could not have been easy; yet he manages it so incredibly well. Robert Downy Jr’s character changes so much throughout the film as he befriends Ayers, and as the film is based on a true story (the real life Lopez played a big part in the making of it) you can really see how much the friendship made Lopez grow, from the harsh business man in the beginning of the film to the compassionate friend at the end, it really is just such a lovely film.
It is one of those rare films which is heartwarming, without being a tearjerker; and I loved that. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone EVERYWHERE!
8/10 from me. An almost perfect film.