The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.
In 1959, Truman Capote learns of the murder of a Kansas family and decides to write a book about the case. While researching for his novel In Cold Blood, Capote forms a relationship with one of the killers, Perry Smith, who is on death row.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
Clifton Collins Jr.,
Legendary rhythm and blues singer Ray Charles' life transpires on-screen, from his humble beginnings in Georgia, where he went blind at age seven, to his pre-fame life touring the South, and on to his career as one of the most enduring, inimitable performers in modern music. Written by
Jamie Foxx had to wear eye prosthetics that really did make him blind for up to 14 hours a day during shooting. See more »
The scene where Charles is met by a group of protesters outside the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia is a fabrication. Charles canceled his appearance after receiving a telegram from students at a local black college. The promoter successfully sued Charles for breach of contract, but he was never banned from the state of Georgia. When the Georgia state legislature honored Ray Charles in 1979, they didn't apologized for banning him because he was never banned. In the commentary, it is stated that this event actually happened, but those who looked into Georgia's legislature found no record that he was banned, just sued, and later they adopted as their state song "Georgia" - by Ray Charles. See more »
Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.
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The final shot of the movie contains a freeze frame of the real Ray Charles and underneath it reads the caption: "Ray Charles Robinson = 1930 - 2004" See more »
If someone had nudged me about 15 minutes into 'Ray' and asked what I thought of Jamie Foxx in the title role, it would have been time for a blank stare. After all, what is this (fictitious) person talking' about? That wasn't Jamie Foxx up on the big screen. That was Ray Charles. This is one of the best performances by anybody in recent years. Like the soundtrack, Jamie as Ray is flat-out brilliant.
The blind Genius of Soul (who took a revolutionary step of mixing gospel with R&B) died during production. The movie about his troubled life is good, not great. Taylor Hackford's direction and James L. White's script follow the well-worn biopic outline. Super-talented youngster battles adversity, achieves greatness while also self-destructing, then picks himself up out of the gutter for a happy ending. The film shows Charles' flaws (heroin abuse, chronic womanizing, persistent bastard-fathering) even as it sucks you in with his beautiful music.
Kerry Washington and Regina King play the main women in Ray's life, one his long-suffering wife and the other his longtime mistress. Both actresses match Foxx stride for stride. What takes him to a different level, though, is his deep understanding and uncanny impersonation of the great musician. The entire cast is effective, especially Sharon Warren as his headstrong mother and Curtis Armstrong as a music exec. Hackford's stars are likely to be rewarded with trophies and---better yet---more starring roles.
I was not a Ray Charles aficionado before 'Ray'. Apparently, the film has left out a lot (as do all biopics), but this picture functions as both an old-fashioned crowd pleaser AND a dark investigation of a brilliant/troubled man. For those who whine that Foxx doesn't actually sing (as if that somehow diminishes his performance), take a hike. No mere actor can sing like Mr. Charles anyway. You can't have everything. What the talented star does in this picture is about as close to "everything" as we'll probably see for a while.
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