Journalist Steve Lopez is looking for a new story and stumbles upon one when he befriends Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man with a violin in the streets of L.A. He wonders what his story is. How did he come to be here and homeless and also such an accomplished musician?
We learn through flashbacks about Nathaniel's life. He was a musical genius as a child and chose to play the cello. His family life was pretty rough; his parents divorced. We learn of his descent into his mental illness of schizophrenia where he couldn't function on his own at school nor with his sister who tried so desperately to take care of him. He found that the voices became silenced outside and on his own.
This is also the story of how Steve Lopez learned how to be just Ayers's friend and not his savior. They both learn and grow from knowing each other and that journey is scary, yet beautiful.
This is a fantastic movie and a gorgeous story on the reality of mental illness. This is important since understanding of mental illness, especially serious types such as schizophrenia are still so misunderstood in society and I feel that this was one more step towards this understanding.