07 February, 2010

The Soloist

For reasons that fascinate me but don't belong here, I'm not going to give a full review of The Soloist. You will enjoy this movie as much as you can relate to its subject, homelessness. If you have a schizophrenic homeless person in your life, this movie will resonate deeply with you. If you care about the homeless at all, it will touch you. It is based on a true story, and you feel the reality of it the whole way through.

The moral of the movie is simple. The homeless don't need to be fixed nearly so badly as each homeless person needs to be known as a person, and every person needs a friend. It's a great moral.

Here's the rub of the movie. You can't always fix the things that make a man choose homelessness. Sure, sometimes you can do things that make room for a miracle, but when a person has chosen a life outside of the culture there's always some root cause. We like to think they just misunderstood something or had a run of bad luck, but sometimes it's nothing like that. Sometimes it's nothing anyone can explain, fix, or prevent. The co-protagonists of this movie tried everything to improve this man's life and got nowhere the hard way.

The movie asks a tough question (and answers it to its own satisfaction) that I think Christians need to answer.
Can you be a friend to a broken man, apart from needing to save him?


salguod said...

The conclusion of that movie was unsettling. Not the answer that you want to see, yet the men involved seem happy with the outcome. Troubling, yet heart warming.

Kansas Bob said...

I saw the movie in December and reviewed it at my place. I loved the character Downy played. I appreciated that it was based on a true story.

Lynne said...

not sure that this one's been released over here yet.

In answer to your final question (a very tentative answer since I've never known a homeless man (and as a woman would have a lot of precautionary caveats) is that we can only meet the broken on level ground when we live in the daily knowledge of our own brokenness

DugALug said...


I saw the movie too. It was both interesting, and challenging. Downy was perfect for the role.

As a Christian, I am called to befriend everyone and all people need 'salvation'. So in one sense I can't separate the two.

The better question is can I befriend a broken person without the motive of trying to 'save' them. I hope the answer is yes. We are still called to help our fellow man apart from sharing the good news.

Even Jesus gave the example of a 'good' Samaritan. I believe He intentionally used this example to rock the idea of who should help who. I believe that God has called us to be compassionate on all walks of life. This compassion is witness enough to God's working in us.

Let the world see our good works and they will glorify the Lord (emphasis on not us).

God Bless

Milly said...

Late in the game
I’ve written about the homeless a few times, in fact not long ago.
My son has a heart for serving those in need at a local mission. He sees something in these people, men and women that many young people don’t see.
I see a different picture where I work. I’ve see a woman stripped down and washing in the restroom in front of children. I’ve seen two men fight in front of me over a fake piece of jewelry. I’ve seen some shop lift and pander. I see the in convince of the homeless.
On the other hand I’ve been thanked for not dehumanizing. I’ve never stopped a man from warming up before he goes back out into the cold. I delighted in a man that preached to nonexistent beings. Having God’s words mumbled as he walked past us is a good thing. I turn my head when a man comes in for a cup of coffee.
On the other hand I’ve yelled at them to walk away from me when trying to get into my car. I’ve see them ask people for money in parking lots. Some break into cars and some steal form my store.
It’s hard because you want to be compassionate but in reality I have to protect my being and my job.
As for being mentally ill that one is a different story. I’m in touch with a young lady who wants to know more about her childhood she wants answers and is afraid that she will be like her father. He hears voices and was in and out of mental intuitions. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her what I know. How do I tell her everything? I hold a ton of guilt over her childhood. I wanted to rescue her from her mother and step father. What if her father would have gotten custody? So far she hasn’t shown signs of the illness that her father has but she had a breakdown and has divorced more than once.

Those who don’t want to be on medication should take themselves from those that they can hurt. I know it’s hard on the family members who love them but I hate that she had to live with the three of them. She ran away and tried living with her father at one point. I wish she had come to me instead of a man who has schizophrenia