Essay Example on The Soloist: Novel Versus Film

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Vanderbilt University
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The Soloist was written by Steve Lopez and was based on a story that was later made into a movie by Wright Joe. The author writes about Nathaniel Ayers homeless man who has a shocking experience and their interaction. Before he came to the streets, Ayers studied at New York scandalous Julliard School of music but had to quit a music promising career after he was affected by onset Schizophrenia. The movie and the novel portray some peculiarities. The film portrays dramatic scenes which were determined by time consideration. In the novel, Lopez is a married man with a two-year-old daughter, who helped Ayers in his free time while in the film he lives alone in what seems a deserted place used to dispose of unpacked boxes (Steve 3)

The film starts by showing Lopez on his bike and then suffering an accident and ends up in an emergency room (Joe 1:23). The book starts with Lopez meeting Ayers, but he is not riding a torrid bike. Ayer used to sit under the shadow of the statue of his idol Beethoven. In the film, he sits directly below the statue, although in the novel he is positioned across the street from the statue. In the novel, Lopez is concerned about Ayers with the first interaction and tells him that he would like to hear him play some more and asks if he was to be there the next day. In contrast, the Lopez in the movie is somehow infuriated by Ayers and only agrees to go back to see him after Julliard confirmed he would return.

In the film, Ayers is portrayed as a physically violent man who is not the same in the novel. Although he had issues and lashed out temperamentally more than once, his persona is not that of a physically violent person. The movie also plays Lopez as desperate which is not depicted in the novel. In the film, Lopez is exceedingly disturbed. He was divorced with his ex-wife as his editor and his son in college. His character in the film misses critical aspects of the book where Lopez has to balance his career and family life. The film describes a companionship that advanced for two years while in the novel, the strength of that relationship is vividly seen during the reconciliation scene at the end of the novel. The film was effective in elaborating more about mental illness and homelessness although it failed in portraying the struggle the journalist go through in telling a story.

The movie is not enjoyable unless the audience had read the book. This is because the film did not capture the full imaginative aspects of the book. The movie did not meet some critical aspects of the book due to unnecessary dramatization. For instance, in the initial scene, Lopez is taken to the hospital after a serious bike accident although this scene is not available in the novel and does not add anything important to the story. It has also removed some scenes from the book such as the original call made by Lopez to the homeless shelter. On the other hand, if the audience has read the book, then watching the film would help capture some aspects of the story better such as by the use of music in some scenes. The similarity between the novel and the film is that Lopez's acquaintance to Ayers is shown as having massively changed their lives.

Works cited

Lopez, Steve. The soloist. Random House, 2009.

Wright, Joe. The soloist. Paramount Home Entertainment, 2009.

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