Ray Charles has the distinction of being both a national treasure and an international phenomenon. By the early 1960’s Ray Charles had accomplished his dream. He’d come of age musically. He’d made it to Carnegie Hall. The hit records “Georgia,” “Born to Lose” successively kept climbing to the top of the charts. He’d made his first triumphant European concert tour in 1960 (a feat which, except for 1965, he’s 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 and 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 Charles was instrumental in the invention of rock and roll. Jamie Foxx (Any Given Sunday, Ali) is Ray Charles in this high-energy portrait of an exceptional man who has become an American icon. Born in a poor African American town in central Florida, Ray Charles went blind at the age of 7. With the staunch support of his determined single mother, he developed the fierce resolve, wit and incredible talent that would eventually enable him to overcome not only Jim Crow Racism and the cruel prejudices against the blind, but also discover his own sound which revolutionized American popular music. Nonetheless, as Ray’s unprecedented fame grew, so did his weakness for drugs and women, until they threatened to strip away the very things he held most dear. This little known story of Ray Charles’ meteoric rise from humble beginnings, his successful struggle to excel in a sighted world and his eventual defeat of his own personal demons make for an inspiring and unforgettable true story of human triumph.
Jamie Foxx does an amazing job playing Ray Charles Robinson in this movie about one of the most beloved entertainers in American history. He has captured the essence of Charles in this dramatic and emotional portrayal. This biography takes place in the early part of Ray’s life when he began his musical career. Segmented throught the film we are drawn back to his early childhood and see how his younger brother died in front of him and how he had to cope with the onset of blindness. The movies dark themed focus on his Herion use and womanizing is prevelant throughout the film and in my mind takes away from the amazing accomplishments he had. In fact the film ends after he goes through rehab and gives up drugs in favor of his family, career and life.
Ray is and emotional film with enough sex, language and drug use to place it far out of our ability to approved it for the family. However, their are many life lessons that can be learned from his indiscretions. The redeeming moral of the film is that no matter how hard you try to hide from yourself, you are always there in the morning. After his rehabilitation, Ray lived on for 40 more years accomplishing more that any other Black performer of his time.