‘Ray’ is a movie that has Oscar on its mind. Best Actor, Best Director, best supporting roles, sound design, production design and more. Watching ‘Ray’ is a reminder that the autumn movie season is in full swing as the studios release their best pictures in hopes of a nod from the Academy in the spring. And despite numerous entries that reach for the gold with the epic biography genre, ‘Ray’ stands out from the pack. In part because the life and times of Ray Charles is such a compelling story to begin with and that the love and care the ‘Ray’ production team put into the movie shines in every frame.
Jamie Foxx will likely be competing against himself next spring, first for his role in ‘Collateral’ and for his portrayal of music legend Ray Charles. Foxx captures the genius and intensity of the man who made some of the most memorable music of the 20th Century while bringing us into his world close enough so we begin to understand how a haunted little boy in Georgia can grow past his blindness as a disability and share his gift for music with the world.
Normally, you have to be wary of the biography picture. And while ‘Ray’ doesn’t avoid all of the typical traps such as over melodramatic moments throughout the movie, it makes a point of painting a truthful picture of all sides of the man and not just Ray’s glory days.
‘Ray’ doesn’t sugar coat Ray Charles’ life, and the major conflict in ‘Ray’ is with himself and his heroin habit that he picks up on the road in the music business. So while millions of music loving fans snapped up his records, ‘Ray’ wrestled with a monkey on his back that grew into a gorilla of pain for him as he indulged his addiction.
His success afforded him the position of leading the life he wanted to live. Even if he had to live a dual life to fit it all in. There was Ray Charles the performer and musical genius that worked out his demons with a needle and a spoon, and the ‘Ray’ that married his sweetheart Bee. Only when after being publicly exposed as a junkie does ‘Ray’ attempt to reconcile his two lives.
Thank you, Ray Charles for bringing your sound to our world, and thank you to the creators of ‘Ray’ for capturing his spirit and sharing his story with the world. Looking forward to seeing Jamie Foxx on the red carpet, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2004 - Purple - Air Date: 11/10/04
USA - 2004