• Year:2004
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Taylor Hackford
  • Cast:Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington
  • Release Date:March 30, 2011
  • Distributor:Universal Pictures Video
  • The Film:4.0
  • The Disc:4.0

“Undoubtedly, the film belongs to Jamie Foxx, who tackles the role with uncommon obsession.”


While the music bio-pic is something of a well-worn genre, there have been notable standouts: The Buddy Holly Story, Coal Miner's Daughter, Backbeat and La Bamba. The latter directed by Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman) was a winning combination of solidly crafted soundtrack and highly emotive story. Hackford brings that same formula to bear here.

The story begins with Ray Charles Robinson (Jamie Foxx) born to Christian sharecropper, Aretha (Sharon Warren), in Albany, Georgia, developing early onset of blindness and enduring the premature death of his younger brother. By age seven, he's blind completely and despite these turbulent events in his youth, Ray's mother encourages him to never let his sightlessness define him and he continues his passion of playing piano in local clubs, his music soon growing in popularity and setting him on his way to stardom.

Undoubtedly, the film belongs to Jamie Foxx, who tackles the role with uncommon obsession. His eyes sealed while shooting, sometimes for up to fourteen hours a day, Foxx learnt to play piano without sight, inhabiting Charles and his struggle with heroin addiction and fractured marital relationships, he pulls out an extraordinary performance that overshadows all others in the film.

Extras wise, there's much to enjoy here: Director's commentary, featurettes on the ‘Music of Ray', uncut music performances from the film, a short doco on Ray Charles, deleted scenes, director's intro and a doco on Foxx's transformation for the role.

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