The man who redefined and created various styles of music struggles through adversity throughout his whole life
Jamie Foxx gives a performance of a life time in his academy award winning film, "Ray." The movie chronicles the life of legendary musician, Ray Charles Robinson, as he struggles through life with drug addiction and relationship problems while tearing up the charts in jazz/gospel/country. The film's story and direction were good but what really stood out was Jamie's performance. At first, I thought Foxx would ham up this role but after seeing his other film, "Collateral", I thought I give this one a shot, and I'm glad I did. The visuals and music for this film were superb. Overall, "Ray" is one of the best films of 2004.
Taylor Hackford did a great job directing this film as well. Hackford was able to create a great sympathetic story about a man that has made several mistakes in life but was able to overcome it in the end. For example, in one scene, it shows Ray (Jamie Foxx) arguing with one his friends over money after showing up late for band practice. This scene symbolizes how Ray gets caught up in the business of music, and slowly starts to forget about his loved ones along the way. Another interesting part of the film was when Ray got caught up in drugs and sleazy affairs. It was very interesting because, at the begining of the film, it shows how Ray's mom taught him to never allow himself to become a cripple after he became blind. However, as luck would have it, he did become a cripple by his own drug addiction. Even though Ray is responsible for most his problems he has in the film, Hackford does a great job by setting the right tone to allow the viewer to still feel sympathy for the guy. Using great scenes like when Ray argues with his wife over his own drug addiction allows the viewer to see a more human side of Ray, so the audiences can relate to his situation.
The affairs are interesting as well. As many Ray Charles' fans probably know, Ray was known to have many affairs while he was alive. Naturally, the film doesn't go over all of them, but it does go over enough to let the audience know what went on behind the scenes like when Ray dumped one of his lead singers for a more attractive one. This symbolizes how Ray would often disregard most of the women he would get involved with on these affairs.
The story was good. However, I couldn't help but feel that there was quite a bit left out. In the film it describes how Ray was sent out to blind school, but it zooms to about twenty years later when Ray is an adult auditioning for a country band. Besides, that though and some obvious pacing issues the film turned out pretty good.
The music and visuals were great. It was amazing on how Ray's music helped enhance the flow of the film. For example, in one scene when Ray breaks up with his girlfriend after he finds out she's pregnant, she sings the song, "Hit the Road Jack." Perfect song for the situation.
However, I can't say enough about Jamie Foxx. It seemed like Jamie took a piece of Ray's soul into this part. He got everything down about the guy from the way he walked to the sound of his singing voice. (Jokingly) At times, I had to remind myself he was just acting.
To put it simply, Jamie deserved the oscar for this role. Everything about this film was good aside from some small details and pacing issues.
Overall, one of the best movies I've seen in 2004.