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The Soloist [2009] [PG-13] - 3.5.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Jamie Foxx stars as Nathaniel Ayers, the talented musician, whose schizophrenia emerged during his training at Julliard School of Music in the 1970s and he was soon homeless. A genius, who could play music even on broken instruments, he performed on LA streets, where a local columnist (Robert Downey Jr.) met him and wrote a series of articles about Ayers and health care inequality. Also with Stephen Root, Catherine Keener, Tom Hollander, Lisa Gay Hamilton and Rachel Harris. Directed by Joe Wright. [2:00]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A woman tells a male reporter that her husband paid several call girls $100 apiece for sex and then brought diseases home to her. One male reporter states to another that a Lindsey Lohan crotch shot is what attracts attention from editors as newsworthy.
 A man keeps a huge purple bra around the top of a cello and refers to the instrument as "her."
 We see three woman in short shorts and halters revealing cleavage. We see a woman in skimpy panties. A man undresses and we see him in boxer shorts briefly. Women wear tops that reveal cleavage. A boy is bare-chested twice. In a hospital scene we see the bare abdomen of a man.

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - A crime scene shows a pool of blood on the ground and we hear that two kids with baseball bats caused a problem (we see a corpse zipped up in a bag that's being loaded into an ambulance). A man looks down at the body of a young person with bloody track marks and scaring on the inner elbows and behind one ear.
 A man slaps another man in the face, pushes him against a wall, knocks him down, steps on him with one foot and says, "If I ever see you again, I'll cut you. I'll cut you like a fish."
 A man falls off his bicycle, over the handlebars, rolls on the sidewalk and scrapes the right side of his face (we see his bloody nose, lips, and right side forehead and cheek and for several subsequent scenes, his right eye is bruised and swollen shut and his a finger is in bandages); we also see him in a neck brace with an IV in his arm. We see people in a hospital emergency room with scratches and cuts and we see bloody bandages and some blood on arms and one abdomen.
 In several street scenes outside a mental health center, we see crowds of people in old clothing shoving one another, fighting and wrestling on the ground. In a night street scene in front of a mental health center several police officers grab homeless people and slam them over car hoods and into the back of police vans (the people yell and cry as they are taken away).
 A man pushes another man violently and pulls out a spiked club, which he swings wildly before he runs into the street. A man searches hospitals for another man, can't find him, and eventually screams and throws his cell phone against the wall in frustration.
 A man hears voices in his head telling him he is worthless, and he argues with and accuses a young woman of poisoning him with soup and forces spoonfuls into her mouth as she cries. A man hears imaginary voices telling him he is of no consequence as his mind flashes back to unpleasant memories and he becomes agitated. A man in an apartment talks to himself, pacing and yelling at the people on a TV screen, he cries and lies on the floor and falls asleep.
 A child in a basement bedroom at night looks out his window and sees a car in flames drive past in the street. Twice, a man stands in traffic on a highway and cars honk as they go around (no one is hurt).
 A man tells another man that he was mugged 14 times and can take care of himself. A man says that he will not go to a mental health center because of it's violent and people taunt him. A man and a woman argue in several scenes about the man's lack of commitment in relationships (they were once married). A woman asks a man on the phone, "Is my brother dead?" and the man answers, "No, he's fine. He's homeless." One musician tells another that before his first concert he vomited.
 Outside a mental health center buildings have graffiti and trash is piled high, fires burn in old barrels and some people in worn out dirty clothing lie in trash against the buildings; several homeless people are shown with grocery carts filled with papers, old clothes, toys and rags and people dig through trash cans.
 We see an overhead camera pan across the tops of men's room toilet stalls while men are dispensing urine samples; in one stall, a man is seated, in another we see a man standing, his phone rings, a cup of urine is dropped and the man slips on the wet floor. A man has a box of coyote urine mix, he hangs a dripping bag of it from a tree to ward off raccoons, it bursts and spills all over him, he screams, and he goes back in a house, wet. Several scenes show a woman that has large and small discolored warts all over her face.

PROFANITY 5 - 2 F-words, 6 sexual references, 13 scatological references, 5 anatomical references, 10 mild obscenities 6 religious profanities, 17 religious exclamations, name-calling (predators, hustlers, junkie, schizophrenic, garbage, boyfriend), 12 instances of stereotyping (blacks, whites, gays, homeless, musicians, the mentally ill). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - The body of a young person has bloody track marks and scaring on the inner elbows and behind one ear, and in three street scenes we see close-ups of people smoking crack cocaine in bongs and a few others smoke marijuana cigarettes. A man takes one pill with a bottle of water, a woman talks about having tetracycline, a woman in a therapy group talks about lithium, and a Native American woman says that she knows how to treat illnesses with natural and prescription medications. A man smokes cigarettes in a few scenes, the air in a bar is smoky and we see one person smoking a cigarette, people in several street scenes smoke cigarettes, a man says that he hates smoking and that people smoke to torment him a man dodges traffic to pick up a cigarette butt from the highway (later saying that cigarettes are dirty), we see a pile of cigarette butts on the sidewalk and a man in old clothing picking them up and placing them in his coat pocket, and a man picks up a discarded cigarette butt left in an empty apartment and places it in his shirt pocket. A person in a karaoke bar sways drunkenly, bumps into tables and hangs onto a standing microphone while singing, we see bottles of beer and some glasses on several tables and several people drink from them, a man sits at a long bar where we see 100s of bottles of liquor on the back bar and he has a line of five whiskey glasses in front of him and drinks from one, a man in a street scene drinks something out of a bottle covered in a paper bag (wine is implied), a woman knocks over a bottle of champagne on the table and a man asks her if she is drunk, many people at a banquet hold glasses of champagne, and a bottle of wine sits on a table with a poured glass nearby. A man says that cocaine in the news attracts readers and that body builders in "Muscle Magazine" probably use steroids, a man speaks with a social worker asking for a homeless man to be placed in psychiatric care and see to it that he takes medications, and a man tells another man to seek medication from a psychiatrist.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Life crises, mental illness, homelessness, life on skid row, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, obsessive helping and codependence, the media, friendships, divorce, families, music and musicians.

MESSAGE - People with mental health issues have rights and value.

Special Keywords: S3 - V5 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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