IMDB rating: 7.9
My rating: 7.5
Celebrity highlights: noone I know.
This is an amazing film about the life of Ray Charles (1930-2004), one of the most famous musicians of the last century.
The story is pretty usual with all the celebrity movies – slow rise, peak, than fall accompanied by drugs and women, than rehub, and than rise again. Nothing new here. There are a few interesting details from the biography, like blindness since 7 caused by the nervous breakdown following the death of younger brother and several years of heroin addiction coupled with a bunch of other drugs. Also, the main character is interesting himself. We aren’t talking about short term shiny stars like boxers or pop singers. Ray Charles was in music for more than 40 years! And that was after he was recognized.
From the first few seconds of the movie one can realize that the film is all about great photography and sound. Running for two and a half hours, this film is one of the reachest photography- and sound-wise among anything that I have seen in the last few years. It offers a really nice overview of Charles’ music and helps to form the opinion and points of interests in the work of great musician. Photography provides both the viewing pleasure as well as some thoughts on the conventional angles and colors used in music, concert, rural, and celebrity imaging.
There was plenty of brilliant acting too. Jamie Foxx did an amazing job playing Ray Charles. I have seen few videos of Charles’ concerts and interviews and I couldn’t believe how close Jamie managed to portrait Ray. He has already got few rewards for the role and he should get few more – he deserves them.
The film is very emotional. It nicely portraits Ray Charles’ conflict. It makes one think about choices people make in their lives. In the middle of the film, I’ve almost hit the pause key to take few seconds to get rid of all Ray Charles’ music that I have – so unsympathetic I felt towards him. Luckily I realised that music has nothing to do with personality of the performer. With such a start I could have possibly got rid of most of my music.
Anyway, the main point is that this film provides entertainment, viewing pleasure, food for thought, and it helps in bringing out strong feelings. Positive or negative – you’ll still feel.