Harry J. Lennix
|"Baby, when I walk out that door I walk out alone in the dark. I'm trying to do something ain't nobody ever done in music and business. "|
|Time: 152 mins.|
Academy Award Nominations for Best Actor (Foxx), Costume Design, Director, Film Editing, Sound and Best Picture.
Jamie Foxx gives the performance of his life by capturing the soul of the enormously gifted Ray Charles. His pitch perfect rendition enables this often unflattering tale to take flight. It appears that brother Ray was not always the nicest of souls, which is probably why his music was so good. As complex as Ray’s life was, the film fails to scratch more than the surface of his story, which is the main problem with doing a biopic. Even though RAY concentrates on about two decades – from obscurity to prominence and all the ugliness in between – there’s still not enough time to fully flesh out all the important relationships in his life. The plot mainly focuses on the evolution of his career: from piano playing crooner to the development of his signature sound, an unheard of mixture of gospel and blues, which made him both loved and reviled around the world. Though his wife and children were clearly important to him the call of the road and his need to perform were what made life worth living.
The plot pulls no punches when it comes to Charles’s drug use and adultery, making Foxx’s job of keeping Ray likable all the more difficult. His blindness and talent create a man unwilling to bend or apologize for his selfish behavior. Life is not always fair and if he has to live with its’ challenges so does everyone else. His only escape is his music and after watching this film one can truly thank God for that. There’s something about his songs, all full of energy and pain, that really speak to the soul and make this film worth watching. Though Foxx isn’t really singing, you’d never know it. His intense pleasure at performing Charles’s classic tunes is infectious and will leave you begging for more. Though an icon, I forgot how good his music was and was thrilled each time Foxx found himself in front of a microphone. Everything about this production is first-rate from the costumes and art direction to the nuances of every performance. RAY is an often intense, mostly entertaining glimpse into the world of one of America's most talented artists. I'm sure Mr. Charles would be quite pleased with this portrayal of his life's journey. It's not very deep, but it's filled to the brim with soul.