The Soloist Steve Franklin, MSW, LCSW6829 Gravois Ave St. Louis, MO 63116SteveFranklin@JUNO.com www. Steve FranklinMSW.com 314-517-8383
Introduction • The Soloist • Analysis • Adam Crane • Questions/Comments
What is this movie about? • The book (Based on his L.A. Times columns) • The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music by Steve Lopez
What is this movie about? Is this a story about • Mental Illness • Schizophrenia • Homelessness • Friendship • Music • Newspaper business • Or ?????
What is this movie about? It is about Nathaniel Ayers • Schizophrenic Musician? • Musician with Schizophrenia? • Angry, cantankerous man? • Victim of oppressive society? • Free spirit?
What is schizophrenia? • delusions • hallucinations • disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence) • grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior • negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition
What is schizophrenia? • NOT better explained by: Mood disorder, Developmental disorder (e.g. autism),Drugs, Medical condition • Paranoid type • Catatonic Type • Disorganized type
What is schizophrenia? Related features--- • Odd/Eccentric or Suspicious Personality • Anxious or Fearful or Dependent Personality • Dramatic or Erratic or Antisocial Personality
How important is a diagnosis?
Is treatment for mental illness central to the problem of homelessness?
Los Angeles Men’s Project (LAMP) Movie depicts their approach to serving homeless. 450 participants in homeless programs were hired as actors and extras for the movie
Put yourself in the position Of family/friends Who want to help Mr. Ayers. • What’s right? • What’s best? • What do you think his goals should be?
Put yourself in Mr. Ayers’ position. • People wanting to help you, telling what they think is best for you. • Responding to fears, uncertainty about what/who you can trust • What do you think your goals would be?
Music (Played by Ben Hong) "I wasn't playing as myself; I had to play like somebody else… like three different people.“
What is this movie about? “…he really wanted this to be a film not about mental illness but about faith. He also said it was a love story,”
The book (The “real” story) Liberties in converting book to Film • Steve Lopez happily married, with young daughter • Reports no violence by Mr. Ayers • Added pressure being black at Julliard • “Recital” … at a nightclub.
Mental Illness/ Schizophrenia? • Ongoing debate, especially in the book… • How necessary is a diagnosis? • Diagnosed “Paranoid Schizophrenic” • Lopez tries to arrange psychiatrist visit
Mental Illness/ Schizophrenia? • Lopez quotes Mark Ragins of The Village—Long Beach— • “If Nathaniel is going to get better, it won’t be because of a correct diagnosis and textbook treatment program, but because he develops enough trust in me and others to pursue his own recovery.”
Homelessness • Greater focus for Lopez • Mr. Ayers is still “sleeping inside”. • (Mollie Lowery founded Lamp…)“ to build a welcoming place without judgment, a place where clients could be themselves in a setting without expectation or rigid rules.
Friendship • Mr. Lopez comes to appreciate what he gets from the friendship • Not just trying to fulfill obligation or rescue • Goes to spend the night with Nathaniel…. Can’t sleep… not comfortable dozing… checks into hotel… for 2 hours • (Mr. Ayers visits Lopez family at home)
Music • Mr. Ayers’ identification as a musician seems able to overpower his identity as “homeless” or “schizophrenic” • Helps others connect with him. • Helps establish a sense of purpose • “Expression of life energy/libido”
Newspaper business • A fading ability to touch masses of people • (In book, Lopez whether to continue newspaper work)
Nathaniel Ayers • Foxx: “he is a person who is trying to make sense of the world.” • “I think he has figured out how to remain functional in his own way in our society.”
Put yourself in the position of family/friends • Steve Lopez turned to National Mental Health Association of Greater Los Angeles (now MHA –LA) • Juxtaposition: Lopez looking for Ayers; mother (?) looking for Ayers… the impact of mental illness on families.
Put yourself in the position of family/friends • Lopez…Once contemplates alleging violence to compel treatment (Shown in movie, thinking out loud) • If he is “gravely disabled”, under California law, he could be subjected to forced treatments. • Reports times when Mr. Ayers was so furious that he wondered if he could get violent
Put yourself in Mr. Ayers’ position. • Foxx… ”They start off butting heads because Steve wants to save this guy's life and Nathaniel doesn't think his life needs saving.”
Put yourself in Mr. Ayers’ position. • “Least Restrictive Environment” • How comfortable are you with the lifestyle of Nathaniel Ayers?
Put yourself in Mr. Ayers’ position. • “What’s more humane, after all? To respect someone’s civil liberties to the point of allowing them to wither away on the street, or to intercede in the interest of their own welfare.”