Ray

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for depiction of drug addiction, sexuality and some thematic elements.
Starring:Jamie Foxx
Directed By:Taylor Hackford

Final Grade:

I knew nothing about Ray Charles. I knew he existed, he was old and he recently died. I also remember he was the Diet Coke Spokesman singing to the world that “They Got the Right one Baby” if they chose Diet Coke. Who Ray Charles was beyond on that, I admit was a near enigma to me. Well part of the enigmatic life of Ray Charles was finally unfolded as I finally made it theaters to see Ray.

Jamie Foxx takes on the challenging role of blind singer, songwriter and performer Ray Charles in this Taylor Hackford directed biopic that hit theaters a few weeks back. For some reason I put off watching and reviewing this film for quite some time even though the film was getting rave reviews and already getting early Oscar buzz for Jamie Foxx’s performance.

After finally seeing this film, I understand what the critics were raving about. Jamie Foxx is amazing in this film; he looks and acts the part of Ray Charles Robinson to a near perfection. You know you are watching a great film when you don’t look at a character and say “Hey that’s so and so playing this type of character.” In Ray, I completely forgot that it was Jamie Foxx at times. Foxx has an amazing talent, and a very bright future. If he keeps choosing his roles wisely and doesn’t go too mainstream, I could see him easily being compared to Johnny Depp when it comes to great acting ability.

The film is nicely directed and flows really easily from scene to scene. The film’s runtime is a bit lengthy, and runs nearly two and a half hours, but it doesn’t feel that way at all. The flick moves quickly and introduces you to some great characters that keep the movie moving forward. In fact after the two and half-hours I was actually sad to see Ray end. And isn’t that a sign that a film is great, when you don’t want it to end?

The film had its flaws, but they were not really that noticeable. Hackford tried to use this flashback of Ray’s childhood periodically throughout the film, and I really didn’t feel like this worked for me as a viewer. I would have been more interested in the plot continuing to move forward than dwelling on the flashbacks as much as they did.

But in the end, I’ll make this review short and sweet. If you haven’t seen Ray by now, What are you waiting for? It’s films like this that give me hope that this could be a great year for the Oscars. Don’t be like me and put it off watching this flick until the last possible minute. Go check it out. The performances are great, the soundtrack is great and the film is great. What more inspiration do you need?

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