FBMR - Ray
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

RAY (2004) ***1/2

What a great movie! I heard some people complain that it was too long at about two and a half hours. I did feel it was too long at all. This film tells the story of singer Ray Charles, from his childhood, to his humble beginnings, to his superstardom. Jamie Foxx does a fantastic job portraying the blind Father of Soul. He has truly captured the many facets of this legend, from his inner struggle regarding a childhood tragedy and his blindness, to his passion for his music and the ladies. Even if you had no idea who Ray Charles was like or any of his mannerisms, Foxx delivers a very compelling performance.

What great music! The filmís soundtrack is filled with country, rhythm and blues, gospel, and soul. Ray was an innovator with a very unique voice. He could cover the American standard greats like Nat King Cole, among others. He also developed his own style thanks to the influences of gospel, R&B, and country, amalgamating these genres together and creating something new and exciting, but also very controversial at the time. He was accused of blasphemy and of corrupting the young with his music.

On top of all that, we are also exposed to a darker side of Ray. I didnít know that Ray Charles was a heroin addict. He started somewhat innocently early on in his career. He thought he was in control of his habit, that he could just stop whenever he wanted. It was only when he was faced with jail-time, and losing his family, and his music that he went into rehab and got sober. Seeing his struggle, both physical and mental, and his eventual success was very powerful. Iíve never had to battle with addiction, and I donít know what itís like to be faced with that obstacle. Regardless, drugs must be supremely difficult to kick. I canít even begin to imagine what kind of strength and willpower it must take to not only stop and clean-up, but to stay clean. Anyone who can do this has my utmost respect, and I am in complete and utter awe at their achievement.

I recommend this film very highly, especially to musicians and music-lovers. It will have your foot tapping in the aisle!