CORPORATE LINE: Ray is the never-before-told, musical biographical drama of American legend Ray Charles. Featuring a remarkable performance from Jamie Foxx in the central role, Ray follows the inspiring story of a one-of-a-kind genius.
Born in a poor town in Georgia, Ray Charles went blind at the age of seven shortly after witnessing his younger brother’s accidental death. Inspired by a fiercely independent mother who insisted he make his own way in the world, Charles found his calling and his gift behind a piano keyboard. Touring across the Southern musical circuit, the soulful singer gained a reputation and then exploded with worldwide fame when he pioneered incorporating gospel, country, jazz and orchestral influences into his inimitable style. As he revolutionized the way people appreciated music, he simultaneously fought segregation in the very clubs that launched him and championed artists’ rights within the corporate music business. Ray provides an unflinching portrait of Charles’ musical genius as he overcomes drug addiction while transforming into one of this country’s most beloved performers.
Ray is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman); screenplay by James L. White, from a story by Hackford and White; and produced by Hackford, Stuart Benjamin, Howard Baldwin and Karen Baldwin.
THE GOOD: Let’s get this out of the way immediately: Ray Charles is an American treasure. We’ve seen movies about tragic artists and one hit wonders, but Ray Charles deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest American artists—bar none.
With that said, Jamie Foxx gives an Oscar winning performance. Who knew he had it in him. Foxx is best known for being wacky and yet he captures the heart and soul of a man who was soul. Foxx’s performance single-handedly mends any ails that may have held this biopic back from greatness. Foxx walks the walk, talks the talk, and for 2+ hours is Ray Charles.
Kerry Washington is fantastic as Della Bee, Ray’s wife. The entire cast is fantastic. Ray is the rare occasion where the cast makes you feel like a fly on the wall during the life of Ray Charles. You feel like you are watching his life unfold.
Most movies leave you with tears at the end—how many build such emotions time and again throughout? Ray cuts to your soul and we have Foxx to thank for making come alive.
FRANKLY: Ray is astonishing. Foxx leaves you speechless. How can a man who has yet to impress anyone with his acting skills offer the best performance of the year? Perhaps it’s emotion. Perhaps it’s the music. Perhaps it’s the man. Perhaps I’m the only one, but I’ll sing it to the Oscars—Ray is the movie of the year.
+ Charlie Craine