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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Kristin Scott Thomas,
Ray Charles has the distinction of being both a national treasure and an international phenomenon. By the early 1960s, Ray Charles had accomplished his dream. He had come of age musically and had made it to Carnegie Hall. The hit records "Georgia on My Mind" and "Born to Lose" successively kept climbing to the top of the charts. He had made his first triumphant European concert tour in 1960 (a feat which, except for 1965, he has repeated at least once a year ever since). He had taken virtually every form of popular music and broken through its boundaries with such awe inspiring achievements as the LP's "Genius Plus Soul Equals Jazz" and "Modern Sounds in Country & Western". Rhythm and blues (or "race music" as it had been called) became universally respectable through his efforts. Jazz found a mainstream audience it had never previously enjoyed. And country and western music began to chart an unexpected course to general acceptance, then worldwide popularity. And along the way, Ray ... Written by
Taylor Hackford wanted to make this movie for 15 years, and finally found Jamie Foxx to play the title role. Foxx is amazing in his portrayal of Ray Charles. From an interview I saw with Foxx, he met Charles several times and the two of them also played piano together (Foxx had piano lessons as a young child and actually played piano in all his scenes). I didn't see Charles live until his later years, so it was great to get a perspective on how his career developed. I hope Foxx gets nominated for the Best Actor Oscar as he certainly deserves it. The music, also, is incredible - it really showcases the breadth of Charles' music, from country to blues, and everything in between. The movie also gives an unblemished account of Ray Charles' life, from the many women he had relationships with to his drug habit and the consequences of that.
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