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.
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The story of Ray Charles, music legend. Told in his adult live with flashbacks to his youth we see his humble origins in Florida, his turbulent childhood which included losing his brother and then his sight, his rise as pianist in a touring band, his writing his own songs and running his own band and then stardom. Also includes his addiction to drugs and its affect on his working life and family life. Written by
Phenomenal biographical film with intense and memorable performances
Jamie Foxx leads a brilliant cast in this powerful voyage through the life of the blind, emotionally troubled, African American genius of pop jazz, Mr. Ray Charles. Though the entire cast performs wonderfully, Mr. Foxx earned more than simply an Oscar. If it were possible to nominate an actor in consecutive years, I would consider doing so for Mr. Foxx. Foxx doesn't just play Charles, he re-creates him. CJ Sanders and Sharon Warren also deserve special mention for their portrayal of Ray's mother (the inspiration of his life) and young Ray. These two provided the strongest support in the film.
The dramas of Charles' struggles with guilt, the death of his younger brother and mother, blindness, discrimination, addiction, and success, are neatly woven into the tapestries of his music. The music is beautiful, the script is, as far as I can tell, perfect, and the acting is nothing short of legendary.
The directorial method of the film warrants discussion. Taylor Hackford - a director I am generally ambivalent about - had to choose what aspects of the larger-than-life and complex life story of Mr. Charles would tell his story most honestly, dramatically, and understandably. Though some disagree (seemingly wanting a documentary instead of a dramatized biopic) I believe he selected his themes admirably. A big part of the success of this film is its consistent focus on a few persistent themes in Charles' life - his profound love and respect for his mother, his need to be loved and accepted, his addiction and guilt complex, his musical genius, and his deep-seated fear of responsibility for others. Charles is depicted as a man struggling valiantly against an army of personal demons. I learned more than I could have imagined about one of the men I used to listen to on my old turntable with my dad in his livingroom on Sunday nights while football games were on the TV. And nothing was sugar-coated in "Ray." The themes are carried forward with power and human dignity. These themes create a unifying drama which span the length of his long and illuminated life. The power of these themes, the strong script and directing, the music, and the acting make this one of the most enjoyable and evocative biographical films I have seen.
Recommended for everyone.
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