This could be a career-changing role for Jaime Foxx, as he
perfectly portrays music legend Ray Charles. The movie opens with
Foxx waiting at a bus stop in northern Florida and travels with him
to Seattle for his first club gig. Through a series of flashbacks
and flash-forwards, the story of Ray’s life is told. Director
Taylor Hackford shows the audience various scenes of Ray’s
childhood, from witnessing his brother’s death at age 5 to the
onset of his blindness and how he learned to cope with the loss.
The film is put together very well, and his life on and off the
stage seem to be straightforward and sugarcoated very little, if at
all. The movie portrays Ray on stage as the amazing musician that
he was – very genuine and responsive to the crowd’s energy. The
movie also reveals his darker sides as a heroine addict, womanizer
and as someone who’s ego grows along with his career.
Kerry Washington does an amazing portrayal of Della Bea, Ray’s
wife, who puts up with his addiction to drugs and women on the road
but is very strong-willed about keeping it out of her house. The
movie has a running time of just more than two and a half hours and
the ending is pretty abrupt, making it feel like Hackford simply
ran out of gas.
To grasp the character, Foxx spent a good amount of time with
the late Charles, who apparently opened up completely, leaving his
life out on the table. Foxx soaked it up and nails the part,
recreating Charles’ mannerisms and movements to a tee. Charles did
get a chance to see a rough cut of the film before he passed away
and was very pleased with what he saw. “Ray” is a great movie and
Foxx is incredible to see, a surefire nominee for best actor in the
Academy Awards. This movie is an emotional tribute to a man who
brought genre-busting music to a worldwide audience, creating
smiles on the faces of anyone who cared to listen.
Three and a half out of four rams