A loving, beautifully rendered study of Ray Charles’ rise to stardom as he battles his inner demons of guilt and shame, his consequent addiction to heroin and the adoration of women. Jamie Foxx is excellent, and sturdily supported by White’s script all the way. Ray does, at times, feel like it’s running the paces of the conventional biopic, but, even its less inspired stretches are enlivened by Taylor Hackford’s passionate direction. I admired this movie and how it tried to tie together themes in Charles’s life, though it does leave some threads dangling (e.g. whatever happened with this relationship with his new, and presumably venal, record manager?). Also top-notch are its cinematography, art direction, and costumes.

Grade: A-

Directed by: Taylor Hackford
Written by: James L. White
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Terrence Howard, Harry J. Lennix, Bokeem Woodbine, Aunjanue Ellis


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