The buzz for this film has given Ray and Jamie Foxx the early lead for the Oscar. Charles’s unfortunate death not long ago, probably gives the campaign a boost. If you look at the subject matter, you wonder why it hadn’t been filmed before. You have a genius for a subject who overcame adversity, in this case blindness, and his own character flaws. What’s more he is an almost universally loved figure, who’s importance in music history is huge.

Jamie Foxx is a comedian and mimic who has been making a name for himself in dramatic roles. It started with his small role in Ali and continued with this summer’s Collateral, which could easily net him a supporting actor nomination. A best actor nom for Ray is in the bag. This must have been a daunting role. Everyone has seen hours of Ray Charles footage. A wrong note anywhere would have drawn the audience out of the story. For one thing, Foxx had to quell his comedic instincts and not characature his subject. You can tell from the previews that he’s successful. When you see the film, you see Foxx absolutely disappeer into the role.

The movie has more than Foxx going for it. Most biopics tend to be long strings of incidents that have nothing to do with one another. Ray avoids this. Taylor Hackford, the director, and James L. White, the screenwriter have picked among the events of Ray Charles’s life and arranged them so that they mean something.

Charles went blind when he was seven. His mother, brilliantly played by Sharon Warren, was a desperately poor single mother in rural Florida, who barely survived by taking in washing. She was almost a child herself and yet she stood up for her rights, telling off another freelance washer woman, whom she’d partnered with, and who was cheated her. When Ray started going blind she knew nobody was going to pity him, and many would try to exploit him, so she passed this strength onto her son. He also added more than a little personal charisma.

These qualities served him well for the most part. When we first see him as an adult, he’s clutching a bus ticket to Seattle. The driver, at first refuses to take him, not wanting the responsibility, but Ray tells him that he lost his sight at Normandy and the driver changes his mind.

Throughout his life, Ray’s strength allows him to walk away from the people who tried to use him. It also got him into drugs. The other users on his first tour of the chitlin circuit in the forties, didn’t want to sell to him, but Ray insisted. Of course, his iron resolve is what gets him out of addiction in the last reel.

Ray is an inspirational story about the power of human will and intellect and the first big Oscar contender of the season.


4 Responses to “Ray”

  1. 1 rampage121584 November 1, 2004 at 7:26 pm

    I've really been looking forward to this films release.  I'm glad you reviewed it.

  2. 2 chavez47 November 2, 2004 at 2:43 am

    Put it sample, I love the movie.
    I grew up with Ray Charles music.
    I thought it was funny on how he got
    some of his lyrics for his songs.

  3. 3 bemore5up November 4, 2004 at 11:36 am

    I’m elated that Jamie Foxx is finally getting his props as a serious actor he’s very talented and with a movie like “Ray” to display those talents he’ll be taken a lot more seriously

  4. 4 tyzacbt November 4, 2004 at 7:16 pm

    I love music of all sorts, and I was so surprised to find out, that Ray Charles had sang so many song I knew growing up.  My grandmother God rest her soul, was a country listener, and when I heard  a song she use to love, I was just blow away.
    Jamie Foxx has outdone himself on this movie. This will truely be a classic in my oppinion.
    I will buy the video and put it in my collection in the front.
    The entire cast did a great job, I have recommened it to all my customers, and a hair dresser can reach plenty of people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

October 2004
« Sep   Nov »

Recent Comments

theotherebert on Black Panther
Mark Anderson on Black Panther
Chuck Ebert on Roman J. Israel, ESQ
Mark Anderson on Roman J. Israel, ESQ
Thomas Van Horne on Spider-Man: Homecoming

Blog Stats

  • 35,975 hits

%d bloggers like this: